Copper IUD Use and Protection Against Cervical Cancer

We know that Cervical Cancer is caused by the HPV virus, and using condoms helps decrease your chance of picking up that virus. We know that the opening to a woman's cervix known as the transformation zone is the most sensitive area for the HPV virus to cause precancerous changes. By taking birth control pills that area of the cervix may be enlarged and thus making a woman on the pill more at risk for cervical cancer in some studies. So we have been counseling women to use condoms as their best protection against cervical cancer when it comes to contraception. But there is now evidence that copper IUDs can also, in addition to the protection condoms offer, help protect against cervical cancer. In an analysis of 26 large studies of the copper IUD it was found that the use of the IUD was associated with significantly less cervical cancer. The study done by French researchers and published in the Lancet Oncology in 2011 looked at 2200+ women and specifically showed that the IUD use was associated with about half the risk of the three main kinds of cervical cancer including the most commonly found squamous cell cancer. Interestingly there was no affect on the number of HPV cases, so the IUD use is no specifically associated with protecting against HPV infection, but likely able to improve immunity and be a protective cofactor against the development of cancer. Some experts think it's the presence of the string in the cervix that is an important factor in the protection against the cancer, but the proof for this remains to be seen.

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