Regular paracetamol use could reduce ovarian cancer risk

In collaboration with the Press Association

Women who use paracetamol regularly could reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by almost a third, a new study claims. The research, published in the July issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, looked at the results of major studies carried out on more than 746,000 women over a six-year period. Lead researcher Dr Stefanos Bonovas from the Greek Ministry of Health said: "Analysing a wide range studies can often throw new light on a problem and raise new research questions. "In this case our analysis of eight major studies ? covering nearly three-quarters of a million women - revealed a strong correlation between paracetamol use and a reduced risk of ovarian cancer." Dr Bonovas said that because paracetamol is so widely used, a link with a decreased risk of ovarian cancer could have important public health implications. However, he issued a word of caution saying: "The risks of long-term paracetamol use - including liver and chronic kidney failure ? may outweigh the potential benefits of preventing ovarian cancer in low-risk cases."

His sentiments were supported by Dr Kat Arney, science information officer at Cancer Research UK.

"This is a large and potentially important analysis that uses results from many different studies," she said.

"Ovarian cancer kills around 4,600 women in the UK every year, and anything that can reduce this toll is welcome. But taking large doses of paracetamol over a long period of time can also have side effects.

"The next step is to do laboratory research to understand more about how paracetamol achieves this protective effect and to test the benefits of the drug in a large-scale clinical trial."

For more information about ovarian cancer, visit the CancerHelp UK website