Does the copper T IUD cause cancer of any type?

NO, the copper T (ParaGard) IUD prevents several cancers.

 

The following information is taken from the 20th edition of Contraceptive Technology:

Intrauterine Contraceptives by Gillian Dean, MD, MPH and Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, MD, MS

Cancer Protection

Both IUCs are associated with a reduction in the risk of endometrial cancer.  Although the mechanism of action in the copper IUC is unknown, it may relate to alterations in the endometrium.  Similarly, progestin-releasing intrauterine contraception has also been shown to protect against endometrial cancer, as is true of contraceptives that deliver a progestin systemically.  Indeed, the LNg IUC has been used to prevent development of endometrial hyperplasia in women using estrogen therapy in the peri-and postmenopause.  While the TCu380A is generally preferred for women with recent breast cancer, the LNg IUC is used at times for women treated with tamoxifen to protect the endometrium.  Moreover, the LNg IUC has been used for the treatment of nonatypical endometrial hyperplasia.  It may also be effective for atypical hyperplasic and grade 1 endometrial cancer.                           

Non-contraceptive Health Benefits of the LNg IUC Topical delivery of progestin to the uterine cavity has exciting therapeutic uses aside from contraception. Some are well established and approved indications, while others are still being explored. The LNg IUC reduces dysmenorrhea and menstrual blood loss from a variety of causes. Overall blood loss drops about 90%, and at least 20% of women stop bleeding altogether. This translates into clinically important increases in hemoglobin and iron stores. The reduction in menstrual blood loss occurs both in women with normal coagulation parameters and in those with bleeding diatheses, including those using anticoagulant therapy. Some evidence supports a benefit in treating heavy bleeding associated with adenomyosis and leiomyomas with the LNg IUC. Trials have compared this approach to treatment with an oral progestin, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or mefenamic acid (which is not available in the United States) and found the LNg IUC superior to the other alternatives. In addition, the LNg IUC is an acceptable and cost effective alternative to endometrial ablation or hysterectomy. The LNg IUC may also decrease the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), similar to other progestin-containing contraceptives. By thickening cervical mucus, progestin may provide a barrier to ascending infection. 

IUDs May Protect Against Cervical Cancer

By NICHOLAS BAKALAR Published: September 19, 2011

Intrauterine devices may offer some protection against cervical cancer, a large review of studies has found.

Related

·         Health Guide: Cervical Cancer
·         More Vital Signs Columns

The studies were conducted from 1985 to 2007 in Europe, Asia and South America and involved nearly 20,000 women. After controlling for many health and behavioral factors, the researchers found that using an IUD reduced the risk of cervical cancer by 45 percent, compared with never using one. The review, published online last week in Lancet Oncology, said the protective effect was apparent in the first year of use and continued for as many as 10 years.

Women who choose to have IUDs inserted are more likely to have been screened for cervical cancer, but the researchers found that screening was not a factor in the reduced risk. And women with IUDs were no more or less likely than women without them to be infected with human papillomavirus, the main cause of cervical cancer. Rather, the researchers suggest, the insertion of an IUD might provoke an immune response to HPV.

The data underscore two important points, according to the lead author, Dr. Xavier Castellsagué, an epidemiologist at the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Barcelona, Spain. First, having an IUD does not change the risk for HPV infection. And second, IUD use is associated with a reduction of almost 50 percent in the risk for cervical cancer.

Robert A. Hatcher MD, MPH

Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Emory University School of Medicine

Atlanta, GA 

Reference:

Dean G, Schwarz EB. Intrauterine contraceptives (IUCs) IN Hatcher RA, Trussell J, Nelson AL, Cates Jr. W, Kowal D, Policar MS. et al Contraceptive Technology 20th edition, pages 152 and 153: Ardent Media Inc. 2011