Released this month, preliminary results of the Apple Women’s Health Study point to an elevated risk of uterine pre-cancer and cancer among those diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and those taking longer to reach menstrual cycle regularity.
Based on data from 50,000 study participants, preliminary analyses found that 12 per cent of participants reported a PCOS diagnosis, which made them more than four times at risk of uterine pre-cancer (endometrial hyperplasia) and more than 2.5 times at risk of uterine cancer. Another result found that 5.7 per cent of participants reported taking five or more years to reach menstrual cycle regularity, which placed them at more than twice the risk of uterine pre-cancer and more than 3.5 times the risk of uterine cancer.
These results encourage people who menstruate to understand the connection between their cycles, cycle irregularity, and risk factors for uterine diseases, and to consult healthcare providers early about symptoms they notice.
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Conducted together with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the US’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Apple Women’s Health Study has examined the connection between menstrual cycles and health conditions such as PCOS, infertility, and menopausal transition. The study was opened to users across the US who enrolled via the Apple Research app and contributed health data—such as temperature and menstrual cycle details—through iPhone and Apple Watch, resulting in a study of enormous scale.
The study team plan to run further analyses and then publish the results.