Taking the birth control pill does not increase a woman's chance of developing cancer and may reduce the risk of getting it, a new British medical study shows.

Researchers at Aberdeen University studied the records of 46,000 women over a 36-year period and found that taking oral contraceptives for up to eight years did not increase a women's risk of developing cancer over the course of her lifetime, News.com.au reports.

Professor Philip Hannaford and his team found that "there was no overall increased risk of cancer among pill users" and that taking the pill could cut the risk by up to 12 percent in some cases, according to Reuters news service.

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But doctors caution the risks of cancer were greater in women who took the pill for longer than eight years.

The 12 percent reduction is equal to one fewer case of cancer for every 2,200 women who used the pill for a year, the study published by the British Medical Journal showed.