IUDs cut risk of cervical cancer by one-third

A search of databases, scientific meetings, and dissertations identified 225 reports (34 studies) evaluating individual IUD use and occurrence of cervical cancer. "It was not subtle at all", lead author Victoria Cortessis, an associate professor of clinical preventive medicine at Keck School, said in a statement.

Dr Beverley Vollenhoven, deputy head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Monash University, said she was excited about the research findings.

According to ScienceDaily, cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women worldwide.

The incidence of cancer of the cervix is increasing in the world.

An IUD may lower a woman's risk of cervical cancer by helping to fight off an HPV infection, Cortessis hypothesized.

This is reportedly the first study to combine figures from many others on cervical cancer and IUDs, which included 16 observational studies that involved close to 12,000 women from around the world. "Even if the rate of cervical cancer remains steady, the actual number of women with cervical cancer is poised to explode", Cortessis says.

Researchers think IUDs might promote an immune response that kills off human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes virtually all cases of cervical cancer. The results showed that women who used contraceptive coils, the incidence of cervical cancer was a third lower.

"The results of our study are very exciting", coauthor Laila Muderspach added.

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

A new study found the risk of premature birth is 80 percent higher among women who become pregnant through in vitro fertilization.

More research is needed to understand the mechanism at play.

But Lichtenfeld was concerned that some of the larger studies included in the analysis dated back to the 1980s and 1990s, when IUDs were being prescribed in the United States to a more select group of women. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 528,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide in 2012, and 266,000 women died from the disease. They can protect against pregnancy from three to up to 10 years.

This systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that any previous use of an IUD reduces the risk of cervical cancer.

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

Secondly, the study was not able to investigate associations between the type of IUD (hormonal or copper), the duration of use, age when the IUD was fitted or access to preventative healthcare. Women in developed countries are not only more likely to have had the HPV vaccine, but they are also more likely to have better access to healthcare and have had regular cervical cancer screening. If this infection is gone, then the cervical cancer chances also get smaller.

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