Gonorrhea Ups Risk of Prostate Cancer

Study also finds large number of sexual partners increases chances

MONDAY, May 10, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Men who have had gonorrhea are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, says new research from the University of Michigan Health System.

Having more than 25 sexual partners in a lifetime also increases the odds of prostate cancer more than 2.5 times, compared to men with five or fewer sexual partners, according to the study presented May 9 at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in San Francisco.

The conclusions are part of the Flint Men's Health Study, which surveyed black men aged 40 to 79 who live in Flint, Mich. The study sought to explain why black men are twice as likely as white men to develop prostate cancer and twice as likely to die from the disease.

About 65 percent of men with prostate cancer reported having had gonorrhea, compared to 53 percent of men without prostate cancer.

"Although we are unable to show that gonorrhea directly causes prostate cancer, we suspect the inflammatory effect of the gonorrhea infection may trigger preexisting cancerous cells to multiply," lead author Aruna Sarma, an assistant research scientist at the Univerisity of Michichan Medical School, said in a prepared statement.

More information

The National Cancer Institute has more about prostate cancer.

SOURCES: University of Michigan Health Systems, news release, May 9, 2004
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