NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There’s a surprising way to help lower a woman’s risk for deadly ovarian cancer.
The solution might be as simple as using a certain type of birth control, reports CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez.
For five years, Amy Dickson Plache has bravely battled ovarian cancer with chemotherapy, clinical trials, radiation, and more – and she’s still in treatment.
“I won’t be cured, but I’ll just live with this as a chronic disease much like you know someone who had diabetes or you know arthritis,” she said.
Amy has an inherited genetic mutation known to increase the risk of ovarian cancer. Tests show so does her daughter, Abby.
“That was pretty hard for me to take,” said Amy.
“It was shocking and obviously scary there’s so many unknowns with cancer,” said Abby.
Unbeknownst to the Plaches, Abby’s choice for birth control, an IUD, may actually reduce her risk.
“I think this data is incredibly compelling,” said Dr. Saketh Guntupalli of the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Guntupalli, the Plaches’ oncologist, and Dr. Lindsay Wheeler are two of the doctors who analyzed 11 international studies.
“We found that the risk of ovarian cancer was decreased when a patient had a history of IUD use,” said Wheeler.
The risk reduction ranged from 15% to 32%.
The theory is it may be tied to the hormones in some IUDs or the increase in immune cells due to an IUD’s slightly inflammatory effects could play a role.
“We know that immune cells are increasingly thought of as being involved in cancer prevention,” said Guntupalli.
Either way, for the Plaches, it’s a win.
“It’s just terrific,” said Amy.
“I do genuinely feel like it’s a big step in the right direction,” said Abby.