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Is Prostate Cancer Caused by a Sexually Transmitted Infection?

By HERWriter
 
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is prostate cancer caused by an STI? Zhanna Tretiakova/PhotoSpin

Scientists from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) examined the connection between prostate cancer and trichomoniasis, the most common non-viral sexually transmitted infection (STI) reported Al Jazeera America. However they were quick to add, it is not definitive proof of such a link.

UCLA Professor Patricia Johnson and her colleagues found the parasite that causes trichomoniasis, Trichomonas vaginalis, secretes a protein that causes inflammation, increased growth and invasion of benign and cancerous prostate cells, wrote BBC News.

Trichomoniasis is believed to infect some 275 million people worldwide including about 3.7 million in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Roughly 30 percent of people infected with trichomoniasis actually have symptoms. Often, a person has no symptoms and is unaware that they are infected.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). However, according to The Independent, Cancer Research UK has said that it is too early to add prostate cancer to a list of cancers caused by infections.

Nicola Smith, health information officer at Cancer Research UK, told BBC News, "This study suggests a possible way the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis could encourage prostate cancer cells to grow and develop more quickly. But the research was only done in the lab, and previous evidence in patients failed to show a clear link between prostate cancer and this common sexually transmitted infection. There are still no known lifestyle factors that seem to affect the risk of developing the disease and no convincing evidence for a link with infection.”

The authors agree that more research is needed as the cause of prostate cancer is still unknown and their study does not prove an absolute link between the STI and prostate cancer, said Huffington Post UK.

This research follows a 2009 study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health which found that one-quarter of men with prostate cancer showed signs of trichomoniasis and were more likely to have advanced tumors.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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