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An oral contraceptive (OC), a combination of progesterone and estrogen. The OC pill was developed and field-tested in the early 1950s by the American biologist Gregory Pincus (1903–1967) and colleagues, with financial backing from Margaret Sanger and others. It has been available throughout most of the world since the early 1960s and has been used by hundreds of millions of women, liberating them from unwanted pregnancies without the inconvenience of contraceptive devices. Epidemiological studies suggest that, if anything, the contraceptive pill is associated with reduced risk of breast cancer, but there is an increased risk of thromboembolic phenomena, especially among smokers and women approaching the end of their reproductive years.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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