Women who use Intrauterine devices halved the risk of developing cancer compared to those who did not, a new study has found.

The study was carried out by researchers including Xavier Castellsague, of IDIBELL in Barcelona who is also a researcher at the Catalan institute of Oncology. It assessed the effects of IUD on the risk of cervical human papillomavirus infection, which causes cervical cancer, and the risk of developing cervical cancer.

The study was a pooled analysis of 26 epidemiological studies published at the Lancet Oncology. It involved more than 20,000 women from different countries.


While the rates of HPV infection did not decrease, there was a “significantly lower risk” of cervical cancer for two major cervical cancer types.

The conclusion was that the likelihood of developing squamous-cell carcinoma dropped by 44 percent and adenocarcinoma or adenosquamous carcinoma fell by 54 percent.

The risk dropped by nearly half in the first year of use and the protective effect remained significant even after 10 years of use.

“The associations found in our study strongly suggest that IUD use does not modify the likelihood of prevalent HPV infection [the cause of cervical cancer], but might affect the likelihood of HPV progression to cervical cancer,” the authors of the study said.

Possible Explanations

Possible explanations of the effect of IUDs may include that the process of inserting the device or removing it destroys precancerous lesions that induce chronic mucosal inflammation and long lasting immune response, thereby reducing the likelihood of HPV progression.