One of the most effective and lasting forms of female contraception could provide unexpected benefits to women who use it.
New analyzes of an intrauterine device suggest that women using this contraceptive have a much lower risk of developing cervical cancer, the device reducing cancer growth by about a third, according to Science Alert.
“The unveiled pattern is amazing. The possibility of a woman being able to control the risk of cancer while protecting herself from an unwanted pregnancy could have a major impact”, said Victoria Cortessis of the University of South Carolina.
Cortessis and her team checked data from 16 studies in which 12,000 women were monitored. Both IUD users and those with cervical cancer, which is the fourth most common form of cancer in women, have been identified.
They found that among the women involved in the study, those using IUD reduced their risk of cancer by 36% compared to those who did not use the contraceptive.
Until now, specialists don’t know what mechanism is behind this effect, and future studies will be needed to discover how the contraceptive works. One of the hypotheses suggests that the placement of the IUD produces an immune response in the cervix, which leads to its protection against any HPV infection, the virus that causes over 70% of the cases of cervical cancer.