This article reports on a significant study that quanitifies the link between taking oral contraceptives and a reduced risk of ovarian cancer.
The news report has several key strengths:
The article also does a good job of putting the findings in a cultural context, indicating how many lives may have been saved, and how these effects are likely to spread to the developing world as more women there use oral contraceptives.
Oral contraceptives are inexpensive and often available discounted or free at health clinics. The article does not compare various methods of birth control (or preventing ovarian cancer) so cost is not an issue in this report.
The article does an excellent job explaining the benefits various ways:
The article briefly mentions the potential side effects of birth control pills, including the slightly elevated risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer, plus blood clots and high blood pressure. Given the dramatic findings about the reduced risk of ovarian cancer, this is useful information.
The article is based on an ambitious meta-analysis, published in a top-tier journal, of many studies conducted over several decades. Its methodology is described in considerable detail.
The article does not exaggerate the seriousness or frequency of ovarian cancer.
The article draws on the study itself, the editorial published along with it, the lead author and two additional medical sources with knowledge in the field.
The article does an excellent job of mentioning other actions that can reduce ovarian cancer risk (having children, tying fallopian tubes) to explain why an oral medication that reduces risk is so valuable.
It also makes clear that no experts are suggesting women take birth control pills purely for cancer reduction–that the risk reduction, as the study’s lead author puts it high in the story, is "a nice bonus."
Oral contraceptives are widely used, and their availability is not an issue in this piece.
The novelty of birth control pills or their protective benefits are not at issue in this report.
There is no evidence the article draws on a press release.