CBS Local — A new report has revealed a possible life-saving benefit for women taking birth control pills. According to the researchers at the National Cancer Institute, oral contraceptives can reduce the chance of developing ovarian, breast, and other cancers in women.

The report, published in JAMA Oncology, finds that women taking the pill for over 10 years lowered their risk of ovarian cancer by 40 percent compared to women who had never used oral birth control. The pill was also found to lower the risk for endometrial cancer by 34 percent.

The researchers added that their study of over 100,000 women also revealed that the cancer drop was noticed in women of all lifestyles including smokers and the obese.

“We found long-term oral contraceptive use reduced ovarian cancer risk universally — it didn’t matter how healthy you were later in life or if you had a family history of the disease; all women experienced the benefit,” Britton Trabert of the National Cancer Institute said, via Time.

Birth control pills affect a woman’s hormone levels to prevent pregnancy and scientists in previous studies have theorized that this change is the key to decreasing cancer risk. The new findings added that postmenopausal women were the biggest beneficiaries of using birth control earlier in their lives.

“Our study indicates that for women with different underlying cancer risks when they are older, their earlier oral contraceptive use is likely still beneficial for cancer prevention,” lead author Kara Michels said to JAMA.

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