September is the official Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, which makes it the perfect time to learn the basics on the disease, including its risk factors.
Men should know that a having a common STD — trichomoniasis — can put them at risk for the most fatal type of prostate cancer, according to research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Here’s what men need to know about the link between STDs and prostate cancer.
STDs Can Increase Risk of Prostate Cancer
The study was conducted with data from an ongoing prostate cancer trial. Researchers used this data to compare the incidence of prostate cancer and outcomes between men who had been infected with trichomoniasis and men who had not.
They found that men who had a history of prior trichomoniasis infection had a slightly higher chance of developing prostate cancer — but those who did developed a very aggressive form of the disease and were 3 times as likely to die from it. Thus, it seems infection with trichomoniasis can make prostate cancer progress more quickly and aggressively.
What is trichomoniasis?
An STD that affects both men and women, trichomoniasis results in 7.4 million new infections annually. It’s caused by a parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis, which is transmitted during sex.
Unfortunately, only 30% of people with the disease have symptoms, so they don’t receive the medication they need to treat the disease. This means that you could be at higher risk for aggressive prostate cancer without even knowing it!
What does this finding mean for prostate cancer treatment?
Researchers hope that these findings will help identify more markers of aggressive forms of prostate cancer. If these can be seen at the time of diagnosis, doctors can prescribe more aggressive treatment plans to target the disease.