Published: Fri, November 10, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

IUDs linked to lower risk of cervical cancer

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.

How Do Women Get Cervical Cancer? Most of the time, HPV infections go away on their own, but when they do not, they can lead to genital warts and various kinds of cancer, including but not limited to cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, or throat - and, of course, the cervix.

"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", explains gynecologic oncologist and study coauthor Laila Muderspach, MD, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the Keck School.

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

"That becomes a significant factor to consider in evaluating results of this type of study", Lichtenfeld said. "Cervical cancer protection would be more icing on the cake of a great contraceptive choice".

For this work, the authors analyzed data from 16 studies with more than 12,000 women around the world. A new study from the Keck School of Medicine of USC has found that IUD use is associated with a dramatic decrease in the incidence of cervical cancer. The studies also included information on risk factors for the disease, such as age at first vaginal intercourse and if the women had HPV. 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.

A meta-analysis aims to pool the results of relevant studies to increase the number of participants and see if the findings are similar.

"However, studies like these only providing associations (likelihood) and not cause or effects".

The number of women diagnosed with cervical cancer is steadily rising, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures. In addition, increasing awareness among the general population about care, prevention and treatment of cervical cancer. As HPV causes the majority of cases of cervical cancer in the United Kingdom, the NHS has offered the HPV vaccine to girls aged 12 to 18 since 2008.

Should gynecologists begin recommending IUDs for protection against cervical cancer? The immune system reacts over time to the foreign body of the IUD, and this immune response could also target the HPV, Cortessis said. 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.

How IUDs are reducing the chance of cervical cancer is the question.

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