Parity, oral contraceptive use, and hysterectomy are known to protect against ovarian cancer, whereas the effect of other reproductive factors remains unclear. The authors investigated the association between several reproductive and hormonal factors and the risk of epithelial invasive ovarian cancer among postmenopausal women participating in the Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer. Information on reproductive history and exogenous hormone use was obtained through a self-administered questionnaire at baseline in 1986. After 16.3 years of follow-up, 375 cases and 2,331 subcohort members were available for case-cohort analysis. Ovarian cancer risk was reduced for parous women, with increasing parity, and for hysterectomized women. Moreover, the authors found evidence that oral contraceptive use is protective against ovarian cancer, even when initiated at an older age. In addition, a reduced risk was observed for each year reduction in age at natural menopause and per year reduction in total menstrual life span. A small increased risk was observed with prolonged time to pregnancy, but no difference was found between ever-married nulliparous women and never-married nulliparous women. Moreover, no associations were observed for age at first birth, age at menarche, age at first and last use of oral contraceptives, and use of hormone replacement therapy.
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