Researchers who were trying to show that irregular periods might protect women against ovarian cancer found just the opposite: Women who had unpredictable cycles in their 20s were more likely to develop ovarian cancer decades later.

The study of 15,000 women doesn’t mean that every woman who has irregular periods is doomed to develop ovarian cancer. Out of all those women, over the next 50 years, only 116 developed ovarian cancer, the researchers report in the International Journal of Cancer.

“This does not mean that every patient who has irregular bleeding has an elevated risk of ovarian cancer. Absolutely not,” said Dr. Ginger Gardner of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who was not involved in the study.

“It’s a higher risk of a very rare disease.”

What the findings can do is offer new avenues for research into what causes ovarian cancer, a highly deadly form of cancer because most women don’t even know they have it until it’s spread. Read the full article here …