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Intrauterine Devices May Lower Risk Of Cervical Cancer Among Users, Study Shows

Contraceptive intrauterine devices (IUDs), also called coils, “might actually protect women against developing cervical cancer even though they don’t stop the infection that commonly leads to the disease,” according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Lancet Oncology, Reuters reports. “The results show that coil use did not affect the risk of [human papillomavirus (HPV)] infection, but was linked to a markedly lower risk of cervix cancer for both major types of the disease — reducing the likelihood of developing squamous-cell carcinoma by 44 percent and adenocarcinoma or adenosquamous carcinoma by 54 percent,” the news agency writes.

According to the researchers, “possible explanations for the protective effect of coils 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,” Reuters says. For the study, researchers “analyzed data from 10 case-control studies of cervical cancer done in eight countries and 16 HPV prevalence surveys in women from four continents,” the news agency notes (Kelland, 9/12).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.