By JOE KIARIE
But two Australian scientists have stirred a storm by proposing that the 95,000 nuns worldwide should use oral contraceptive pills, not for contraception, but to drastically lower their chances of breast, ovarian and uterine cancers.
In an article recently published in the international medical journal The Lancet, the researchers state that nuns “pay a terrible price for their chastity” and urge the church to make the oral contraceptive pill freely available to all its nuns in order to decrease risk of these cancers.
Apparently, the Catholic Church officially condemns all forms of contraception except abstinence.
They have also questioned the intent of the scientists, who they claim could be making a deliberate effort to market contraceptives.
In the article, The Plight of Nuns: Hazards of Nulliparity, Dr Kara Britt of Monash University and Prof Roger Short from the University of Melbourne note that past research has confirmed that women who do not give birth during their lifetime, among them nuns, were more likely to die of breast, ovarian and uterine cancers than the rest of the female population.
This is because such women have a higher number of ovulatory menstrual cycles than other women because of the absence of pregnancy and lactation. Scientifically, an increased number of cycles
Increases cancer risk.
According to Britt and Short, two epidemiological studies of the health effects of contraceptive pills conducted in the past two years have shown that the oral contraceptive pill significantly decreases overall mortality rate. It does not increase breast cancer risk, and significantly reduces risk of both ovarian and uterine cancers.
The researchers note that the overall mortality rate among those who used the oral contraceptive pill was reduced by 12 per cent This is compared to non-users and that in both studies, the adjusted relative risks of ovarian and endometrial cancers (were reduced by 50 to 60 per cent.