Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Cohort study
Oral contraceptives do not appear to present long-term cancer harms and may even provide protection against some cancers
  1. Tammy O’Rourke
  1. School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Professor Tammy O’Rourke, School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada; TammyORourke{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Commentary on: Iverson L, Sivasubramaniam S, Lee AJ, et al. Lifetime cancer risks and combined oral contraceptives: the Royal College of General Practitioners’ oral contraceptive study. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2017;216:580:e1–9.

Implications for practice and research

  • Nurses and nurse practitioners who prescribe combined oral contraceptive (COCs) and counsel patients about COCs are in a position to ensure balanced discussion as they improve patient knowledge of known benefits and risks.

  • Prescribers presenting health teaching should have an equal focus on the benefits and risks.

  • Future research should include side-by-side comparisons of COCs and other types of fertility control (ie, long-acting reversible contraceptives and/or vaginal rings) to provide women with the evidence needed to make informed choices about this important aspect of their day-to-day life.


Combined oral contraceptives (COCs) have been on the market over 50 years, and generations of women have chosen to control their fertility through daily administration of what we now know as ‘the …

View Full Text


  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.