A new controversy has arisen this week with an Australian research team suggesting that nearly 95,000 nuns worldwide should be given birth control pills as a means of lowering their risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancers. A researcher at Monash University, Melbourne and another from the University of Melbourne say that nuns are at increased risk due to their celibate lifestyle.
It has long been suggested that not having breastfed children and not having conceived children could possibly put a woman at higher risk. I say "suggested", because my own mother breast-fed nine children and died of breast cancer and every friend that I have ever made with ovarian cancer, has borne children.
The December 8th edition of The Lancet said that women who take the pill have a 12% lower mortality rate than those that don't. They also said that women who take the pill have a 60% lower risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer than those that have never taken it. They also stated that the benefit lasts for up to 20 years. It obviously didn't work in my case.
The Roman Catholic church does not ban the use of birth control pills for health reasons.
Sister Mary Ann Walsh of US Conference of Catholic Bishops says that suggesting that nuns should take the pill is "sweeping and almost irresponsible. There are risks with the pill just as there are risks with doing nothing with regard to uterine and ovarian cancer," Walsh said. "A nun's decision needs to be worked out between the nun and her doctor."