Black men with a history of the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea may face a higher risk of prostate cancer
The findings, from a study of more than 800 African-American men, add to evidence that STDs may contribute to the development of prostate cancer. Researchers suspect that chronic inflammation in the prostate gland, caused by infection, may over time promote tumor development.
Of the 40- to 79-year-old men in the current study, those with a history of gonorrhea were 78 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who'd never had the STD.
In addition, men who reported the most sexual partners -- 25 or more over their lives -- had a nearly three times greater risk of the cancer than men who'd had five or fewer partners. This further suggests a role for "sexually transmitted factors" in prostate cancer risk, the researchers report in the Journal of Urology.
Past studies have found associations between STDs and prostate cancer risk in white men. The current study focused on black men, who have significantly higher rates of both prostate cancer and STDs such as gonorrhea.
Taken together, the evidence suggests that a history of STD infection may be a risk factor for prostate cancer, according to lead author Dr. Aruna V. Sarma, an assistant research scientist in urology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
California: More Black Teens Get Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea and Chlamydia Infection Among Women Visiting Family Planning Clinics: Racial Variation in Prevalence and Predictors