Protecting against cervical cancer is generally about as fun as, well, having a Pap smear.
But the one of the most effective, cheapest, and safest forms of birth control can actually cut your risk of developing cervical nearly in half, according to a new study published in The Lancet Oncology.
The largest epidemiological study to date (involving more than 20,000 women!), it determined that those women with a history of using intrauterine devices (or IUDs) had almost half the risk of developing cervical cancer as those who had never used IUDs.
Most of the 12,710 new cases of cervical cancer a year are caused by HPV infection. While IUD use was not shown in the study to affect the risk of HPV infection, it did prevent HPV from developing into cancer. It reduced the likelihood of developing squamous-cell carcinoma by 44 percent and adenocarcinoma or adenosquamous carcinoma by 54 percent.
HavenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t ever used an IUD? ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not too late. The study showed that the length of IUD use did not significantly alter its cancer-prevention benefits. The risk was reduced by nearly half in the first year of use and remained significant even after 10 years of use.
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Photo: Devon Jarvis