Intrauterine devices or IUDs are a form of birth control that may be beneficial in reducing cervical cancer by 45 percent when compared to women who have never used one, a large literature review has found.
The review, published in the Lancet Oncology, explains that the benefits can be detected within the first year and effects may remain for up to 10 years. Women utilizing IUDs were equally as likely to be infected with human pappilomavirus (HPV), the most common cause of cervical cancer, as those women without the contraceptive. One possible explanation for the decrease in cervical cancer is immune cell stimulation. It is thought that these cells may be stimulated by the IUD to become active against HPV and prevent the virus from causing cancer to the cervix.
HPV is still one of the greatest risk factors for developing cervical cancer. IUDs do not protect against HPV infection. Women should speak with their health care practitioner about regular screening exams for both HPV and cervical cancer.