Intrauterine devices (IUDs) may lower risk of cervical cancer

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) may lower risk of cervical cancer

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) may lower risk of cervical cancer

Considered a safe and highly effective contraception method, intrauterine devices (IUDs) may also be quietly offering protection against the third-most common cancer in women worldwide.

It works by releasing a progestogen hormone into the womb which helps to thicken the mucus from the cervix, making it hard for sperm to move through to fertilise an egg.

The researchers analysed patient data from 16 previous studies on cervical cancer in order to draw their conclusions. "It's a common infection and in about 90% of women who have HPV, their body will clear the virus on its own but in 10% of women, the infections don't clear up and they can turn into cervical cancer", Cortessis says.

Of all the women who were surveyed, those who used the coil had a third less incidence of cervical cancer.

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But Cortessis said her team took into account individual cervical cancer risk factors such as prior pregnancy, HPV status and number of sexual partners, and found that each of these factors did not affect their bottom-line findings. It was not subtle at all. Women who developed cervical cancer were matched for a number of factors - such as age, ethnicity and sexual history - with a control group of women who did not develop it.

"IUDs could be a tool to combat this impending epidemic". But they cite the possibility that this contraceptive stimulates a response of the immune system that help fight infections responsible for the cancer caused by the human papillomavirus.

Cervical cancer is nearly always caused by certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), according to the World Health Organization.

Another possibility is that when women have the devices removed, precancerous cells are scraped away that might otherwise grow into tumors.

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Even so, the results suggest it's worth continuing to research the potential for IUDs to help prevent cervical cancer, said Dr. Michelle Moniz, an obstetrics and gynecology researcher at the University of MI in Ann Arbor who wasn't involved in the study.

By 2035, those numbers are expected to rise to more than 756,000 infections and 416,000 deaths, the United Nations health agency warns.

"The results of our study are very exciting", coauthor Laila Muderspach added. "There is tremendous potential". "Those are the ladies who need it the most", she said. The school trains more than 900 resident physicians in more than 50 specialty or subspecialty programs and is the largest educator of physicians practicing in Southern California. Keck School faculty also conduct research and teach at several research centers and institutes, including the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine at USC, USC Cardiovascular Thoracic Institute, USC Institute of Urology, USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, USC Roski Eye Institute and Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute.

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