Ovarian Cancer deaths falling – link to contraceptive pill and HRT use

September is Gynaecological Cancer Awareness month and following our blog, here we take a look at how falling ovarian cancer rates are reducing the impact of this disease.

The contraceptive effect

Italian academics have recently published research on the incidence of the illness in EU countries, looking at the 10 year period from 2002 -2012 and this shows that the protective effect of the contraceptive pill has led to reductions of around 10% across the board but with variations in different countries.

In the UK the fall was 24% and as high as 26% in Denmark and Sweden but as low as 0.6% in Hungary.

The variation in the incidence of the disease is thought to be partly linked to the timing of onset of regular use of oral contraceptives and the variance between different countries with those countries showing the greatest decrease of disease having uptake from 1960s onwards. Those situated in Eastern Europe as well as Western and Southern European countries like Spain, Italy and Greece show later and less frequent use of contraceptives.

The HRT effect

Another factor in the reduction since 2002 is the move away from the use of HRT for long term treatment of the menopause and its use becoming reduced from 10-15 years to 2-3 years. The use of HRT declined after a report from the Women’s Health Initiative in 2002 led to concerns about increased risks of cardiovascular disease, breast and ovarian cancer. In the UK, for women using HRT for 5 years over the age of fifty there will be 1 in 1,000 more cases of ovarian cancer.

Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month

This September The Eve Appeal is supporting awareness of all Gynaecological cancers with awareness of symptoms and different types of disease. This research is great news but it is important that women know that if they notice any symptoms that are unusual, they should seek medical advice.

Our Medical Negligence team is regularly instructed in cases of delayed or late diagnosis of cancer. If you or a member of your family has been affected by a delay in diagnosis, please contact us on 0800 316 8892.