IUDs may help protect against cervical cancer

INTRAUTERINE devices (IUDs) may protect against the development of cervical cancer, according to pooled data from studies including nearly 20,000 women.

Women with ever-use of an IUD were found to have almost half the incidence of cervical cancer compared to non-IUD users, according to the analysis.

Strong protection was seen for squamous cell carcinoma (a 44% reduced risk), and adenocarcinoma and adenosquamous carcinoma (a 54% reduced risk), but was more moderate among women who were HPV positive (32% reduced risk).

The analysis encompassed data from 26 studies by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the Institut Català d’Oncologia involving almost 20,000 women who had cervical cancer or HPV (or both) or were controls.

The researchers found a “strong and consistent” inverse association between IUD use and cervical cancer risk, leading them to speculate that the device may trigger cellular immunity.