A new study out of the U.K. has found that the more children a woman have the lower her risk of ovarian cancer may be. The study also found a link between reduced risk for ovarian cancer and tubal ligation or having your tubes tied. Researchers once believed that ovarian cancer came from the ovaries, but new research shows that some tumors start in the fallopian tubes or from endometriosis.
Risk for Ovarian Cancer
This study followed 8,000 women and found that those with one child had a twenty percent lower risk for ovarian cancer and a forty percent lower risk in endometrial cancers. After the first child, each additional child offered an eight percent reduction in risk of ovarian cancer. Women who had undergone tubal ligation had a twenty percent risk reduction for ovarian cancer and a fifty percent reduction in risk for endometrial cancers.
Motherhood Lowers Risk for Cancer
While the study did not reveal a cause-and-effect between not having children and lowering cancer risk, but rather a link between having children and reduction in risk for cancer. So why are women who don’t have children at a higher risk for cancer? It seems that infertility may be the link.
Some conditions like endometriosis cause infertility, making it harder for a woman to become pregnant, increasing her risk for specific types of cancer, including ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. Tubal ligation may prevent tumor-causing cells from traveling down the tubes and reaching the ovaries.
Endometriosis Surgery and Infertility
When you were first told you had endometriosis, it was probably recommended that you take hormonal birth control to help you manage your symptoms. Hormonal management works great for some women at reducing their pain, but it won’t do much good for the woman with endometriosis who wants to get pregnant.
If you have endometriosis and want to get pregnant, laparoscopic endometrial excision may help relieve your endometriosis and improve your fertility. During this procedure, your surgeon will insert a long tool with a camera through a small incision in your abdomen (your doctor may choose to do two or three incisions). When your surgeon finds the endometriosis in your abdomen, he or she can remove the endometrial cells, increasing your likelihood of getting pregnant, and according to new research, reduce your risk for ovarian cancer.