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July 28, 2014 — The use of levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine devices (IUDs), such as Mirena, have been linked to a 19% increased risk of breast cancer, according to a study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Results were based on data from about 94,000 women in Finland who used a levonorgestrel-releasing IUD between 1994 and 2007. All of the women were between the ages of 30-49 and were using the IUD to treat menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding).

During the study, 2,781 women were diagnosed with cancer. Researchers concluded that levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs actually decreased the risk of many types of cancer, including:

  • 50% lower risk of endometrial cancer
  • 40% lower risk of ovarian cancer
  • 50% lower risk of pancreatic cancer
  • 32% lower risk of lung cancer

However, women on levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs were 19% more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women in the general population of Finland.