Published: Fri, November 10, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

IUDs Might Significantly Reduce the Cervical Cancer Risk

IUDs Might Significantly Reduce the Cervical Cancer Risk

A search of databases, scientific meetings, and dissertations identified 225 reports (34 studies) evaluating individual IUD use and occurrence of cervical cancer.

Study coauthor Dr Laila Muderspach, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the Keck School, added: "If we can demonstrate that the body mounts an immune response to having an IUD placed, for example, then we could begin investigating whether an IUD can clear a persistent HPV infection in a clinical trial".

When doctors insert IUDs, irritation of the cervical tissue might trigger an immune response that helps fight HPV infections, Cortessis said.

The number of women diagnosed with cervical cancer is steadily rising, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures. This is due in part to the national cervical screening programme and the more recent human papillomavirus virus (HPV) vaccination programme - HPV causes at least 70% cervical cancer cases.

"A staggering number of women in the developing world are on the verge of entering the age range where the risk for cervical cancer is the highest - the 30s to the 60s", said Cortessis.

For this work, the authors analyzed data from 16 studies with more than 12,000 women around the world. Some scientists believe that contraceptive coils stimulate the immune response in the cervix, allowing the body to fight existing HPV infection, which ultimately can lead to cervical cancer. But no matter how the data was tested in relation to these variables, the researchers found the same results, she said: The rate of cervical cancer in IUD users was a third lower than among nonusers.

"The results of our study are very exciting". Given that IUDs are one of the most popular and effective birth control methods women use - and the number one choice of OB/GYNs for birth control, according to a 2013 survey from Planned Parenthood - fact that they could help reduce the likelihood of cervical cancer is very good news for women who use IUDs, or will in the future. And despite the analysis of confounding variables and robust size of the review, there will still be concern about lingering confounding variables until there is a clinical study, he said.

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However, the study only showed an association between IUDs and a lower risk of cervical cancer.

Here's hoping that even more studies are done finding a correlation between IUD use and the incidence of cervical cancer decreasing. Cervical cancer is usually a slow developing type of cancer which may or may not exhibit symptoms of the disease.

The report was published online November 7 in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Women who had used an IUD were 36% less likely to develop cervical cancer (odds ratio 0.64, 95% confidence interval 0.53 to 0.77). They can protect against pregnancy from three to up to 10 years. In addition, increasing awareness among the general population about care, prevention and treatment of cervical cancer.

Firstly, none of the women had received an HPV vaccine.

"This new study allows us to now add another awesome benefit, which includes reducing the risk of cervical cancer", Dr. Ross says.

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