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August 15, 1980

Folate for oral contraceptive users may reduce cervical cancer risk

JAMA. 1980;244(7):633-634. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310070003001

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Folic acid supplementation may help reduce the risk of cervical cancer in women taking combination oral contraceptive agents.

According to data presented at the American Society for Clinical Nutrition meeting in Washington, DC, by Charles E. Butterworth, MD, chief, Division of Nutrition, University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham, young women with mild to moderate cervical dysplasia had significant improvement in this condition after taking 10 mg of folate orally each day for three months.

At present there is no epidemiologic evidence that oral contraceptive agents increase the risk of cervical cancer in the population as a whole. But many investigators believe that cervical dysplasia progresses to carcinoma in situ of the cervix in some women, and there is preliminary evidence suggesting that oral contraceptive agents can hasten this progression.

The effect of folate on abnormal cervical cytology has been investigated over the last five years by Butterworth, obstetrician-gynecologist Kenneth