It might sound like a bad joke to suggest that Catholic nuns should be prescribed the contraceptive pill. But two Australian doctors say it would protect them from the "accursed pest" of cancer which has been recognised for 300 years.
Like other women who do not have children, nuns have an increased risk of dying from breast, ovarian or uterine cancers. Studies show that women who have ever taken the contraceptive pill – the effect lasts for at least 20 years – have a 50-60 per cent reduced risk of ovarian and uterine cancer.
Writing in The Lancet, Dr Kara Britt and Professor Roger Short say the Catholic Church should rethink its condemnation of contraception and make the Pill available to nuns.