IUDs may lower cervical cancer risk

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IUDs or intrauterine contraceptive devices could substantially reduce the risk of women developing cervical cancer, revealed by researchers in a recent study in Lancet Oncology.

Xavier Castellsagu? and scientists at the Institut Catala d’Oncologia, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, in Catalonia, Spain, examined 10 case-control studies of cervical cancer in eight countries and 16 surveys on human papillomavirus (HPV) prevalence in women from four continents.

Researchers analysed data from more than 20,000 women.

The researchers found that the risk of developing squamous-cell carcinoma, one of the two major types of cervical cancer, was reduced by 44 per cent, while the chances of getting adenocarcinoma or adenosquamous carcinoma, the other major type, fell by an even greater proportion – 54 per cent.

But using IUDs did not help protect against getting the HPV virus – which causes the vast majority of cervical cancers.

The researchers are unsure why IUDs help protect against cervical cancer, but suggested that the process of inserting or removing the device may destroy pre-cancerous lesions or trigger chronic inflammation and a long-term immune response in the lining of the womb, aiding resistance to HPV.

Source: Lancet Oncology, UK

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