Trichomonas vaginalis, a common sexually transmitted infection (STI), has been found to be strongly associated with the risk of advanced and lethal prostate cancer in men.
Unlike diseases like syphilis and infections like HIV, trichomonas vaginalis isn’t a viral infection but a parasite. It infects millions of people world wide (an estimatd 174 million) and researchers have found that it can cause inflammation of the prostate by infection.
Women who contract trichomonas vaginalis often have some such as a vaginal discharge or vulvar itching or soreness, but men usually don’t have symptoms or are asymptomatic. And, because men don’t usually have symptoms, they won’t realize they are infected, leaving the infection to settle in.
Researchers wondered if the inflammation caused by the STI could be contributing to the development of prostate cancer; an earlier small study had suggested that this may be so. For this study, researchers looked at 673 men who had prostate cancer and compared them to 673 who didn’t.
What was found was that those men who were infected had two-times higher risk of prostate cancer that was quite advanced by the time it was diagnosed. More, they had a three-times higher risk of having fatal prostate cancer. The study findings were published earlier today on the Journal of the National Cancer Institute website.
While more studies need to be done to confirm the findings, this could be a good step forward in trying to catch prostate cancer earlier and by working on preventing it in many cases.