IUDs may offer cancer protection

Really interesting new study of 20,000 women suggests that the use of IUDs might reduce the risk of both major types of cervical cancer, even in women who contracted cancer-causing HPV. The researchers speculate that the IUD's presence—it is, after all, a foreign object in your lady bits—may serve to stimulate immune responses that fight off HPV infection early and prevent it from progressing to cancer. This needs follow up. But it's intriguing. (Via Colleen McCaffery)


  1. There’s a joke in here somewhere about Michelle Bachman, the HPV vaccine, and teenage girls, but I can’t come up with it.

  2. well, i have mirena, and my cervix is great!!!…… not to mention cancer free sooooo……. EAT THAT BACHMAN!!!!! 

  3. Whoah, hey, I hate to have to repeat it here, but CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION.  There was no random assignment of women to receive IUD or not.  The study only establishes a correlation (aka association).  It COULD be that IUDs reduce cancer risk (and that would be great!), OR it could be that, for example, women who choose to get IUDs are generally healthier, wealthier, make better health decisions, etc.  The study authors do say that they “adjust[ed] for relevant covariates” (i.e., using statistics to try to remove effects of other variables), but who knows if they got every single possibly relevant variable?
    These findings are suggestive, and hopefully will spur more targeted research, but in and of themselves they don’t afford any causal conclusions.

    1. Thank you……I too wonder if they did a logistic regression analysis re-the correlation.

      It is also known that reduced estrogen levels over long periods of time minimize the risk of breast cancer, but still that is not reason enough for me to prophylactically take the pill.

  4. IUDs are making a comeback. Wired had a really good article on them a month or two ago. They were glossed over in my sex ed – like the red headed step child of contraception.

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