Deaths from ovarian cancer in the UK dipped by 22% over a decade thanks to widespread use of the contraceptive pill and possibly owing to a decline in the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause, scientists have said.
In 2002, 7.51 out of every 100,000 women in Britain died from the disease. But the rate fell to 5.86 deaths in 2012, according to figures published in the journal Annals of Oncology.
The downward trend is expected to continue until at least 2020, the scientists said.
The UK figures were from researchers who used World Health Organisation data to analyse ovarian cancer death rates in countries across the globe from 1970 until 2012.
They noted declines across the globe but the downward trend varied significantly between countries.
And in a handful of countries, including Bulgaria, Brazil and Columbia, the number of women dying from the disease increased.
The authors attributed use of the contraceptive pill to the decline. They also said the dip in the number of women using HRT could have played a role.
"The main reason for the favourable trends is the use of oral contraceptives (OCs), particularly, in the USA and countries of the EU where OCs were introduced earlier," they wrote.
"Declines in menopausal hormone use may also have played a favourable role in elderly women, as well as improved diagnosis, management and treatment."
The authors also projected trends going forward to 2020, predicting that 4.8 women out of every 100,000 across Europe will die from ovarian cancer in four years' time.
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