At the Institut Catal d’Oncologia in Catalonia, Spain, researchers announced findings that use of the IUD lowers risk of cervical cancer.
The Study examined 26 previous studies involving about 20,000 women from more than a dozen countries who were followed for 10 years. It found that women with a history of Inter Uterine Device Contraception (IUD) have an equal rate of contracting the human papilloma virus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer, but they had only around half the risk of developing the cancer itself.
The scientists think possible explanations for the protective effect of IUDs could be that the process of inserting or removing them destroys pre-cancerous cells, or that it causes some kind of inflammation that prompts a long-lasting immune response and prevents the HPV from progressing.
IUD use is known to reduce endometrial cancer risk. However, the impact of the birth control method on cervical cancer and HPV infection has not been clear until now, researcher Xavier Castellsague, PhD, of Catalonia, Spain’s Institut Castala d’Oncologia reported in an interview with WebMD.
The study is published online The Lancet Oncology.”The good news for IUD users is that this form of birth control does not increase the risk of HPV infection and it appears to lower the risk for developing cervical cancer,” he tells WebMD.
The IUDs is the most widely used reversible method of birth control world wide. However, of the women in the United States who use birth control only about 1% to 2% chooses the IUD. Previous problems in the United States with the Dalkon Shield IUD, the market in 1974, may be the reason. Since 1974 advancements in IUD technology has made it safe and effective, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Intrauterine device use, cervical infection with human papillomavirus, and risk of cervical cancer: a pooled analysis of 26 epidemiological studies. Published online September 13, 2011 in The Lancet Oncology. First author: Xavier Castellsagu, MD, Institut Catal d’Oncologia.
Simon, Stacy. Study: Cervical Cancer Risks Lower in IUD Users In The American Cancer Society News Feature Sept 20, 2011. http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/news/News/study-cervical-cancer-risk-lower-in-iud-users
Boyles, Salynn IUD for Birth Control May Cut Cervican Cancer Risks In WebMD Birth Control Health Center Sept 12, 2011. http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/news/20110912/iud-for-birth-control-may-cut-cervical-cancer-risk
The Center For Disease Control and Prevention Current Trends in IUD Safty: Report of a Nation Wide Physicians Survey in CDCMMWR Weekly Oct 17, 1997/ 46 (41); 969-974.