Ovarian cancer and oral contraceptives : a systematic review

Ovarian cancer is a significant global health concern affecting women worldwide. Previous studies have suggested a possible protective effect of oral contraceptives against ovarian cancer, however, there are still knowledge gaps regarding this relationship and the influence of other specific factors remains unknown. Considering that no recent systematic review on the topic has been published, the aim of this study is to summarize the outcomes from updated literature investigating the potential associations between oral contraceptive use and ovarian cancer risk. Following the guidelines of Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) a systematic search of the literature published in the MEDLINE-PubMed database until December 2022 was conducted. As a result, a total of 38 studies were finally included in this systematic review. The systematic review found evidence supporting a potential protective effect of oral contraceptives against ovarian cancer. Several studies included in the review reported a decreased risk of ovarian cancer among women who used oral contraceptives compared to nonusers. Additionally, the review identified that the protective effect of oral contraceptives may vary among different populations or specific subgroups of women. Factors such as geographic distribution, sample size of the study, age, reproductive and hormonal factors, genetic predisposition and lifestyle choices may influence the magnitude of the protective effect. In conclusion, the overall findings of this systematic review suggest that oral contraceptives may have a beneficial effect in reducing the risk of ovarian cancer. Yet, further research to better understand the underlying mechanisms and explore the potential interactions with confounding factors is warranted ​
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