Researchers are set to launch a study into whether a certain type of contraceptive coil can be used to prevent women from developing womb cancer.
The trial, funded by Cancer Research UK, will examine whether an intrauterine system (IUS) that releases the hormone progestagen can prevent cancer of the lining of the womb (endometrial cancer) in high-risk patients.
The hormone reduces the thickness of the wall of the womb and it is this feature that researchers believe could be the key to reducing the rate of endometrial cancer in women who are at an inherited risk of the disease.
Scientists in Glasgow are now recruiting women with hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) – or Lynch syndrome – to take part in the study. It is part of a UK-wide trial that aims to recruit 220 women and will run for four years.
Endometrial cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women in the UK, with most cases being diagnosed after the menopause. While 2% of British women will develop endometrial cancer, the rate rises to 60% for women with HNPCC.
“We are uncertain how effective it is to screen for endometrial cancer in women at increased risk of the disease, so prevention is the key,” said Dr Victoria Murday, a researcher at Glasgow’s Yorkhill Hospital.