STIs and Cancer
There are a number of risk factors for cancer; increasingly of interest to researchers is the link between cancer and viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections. Some sexually transmitted infections are among those that can increase the risk for developing certain cancers:
- HPV is the primary cause of a number of cancers including those of the cervix, anus, and penis
- Chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections cause liver cancer
- HIV patients are susceptible to several cancers including Kaposi sarcoma, a cancer targeting the lining of blood vessels
Most individuals with these infections won’t develop cancer but it’s a good idea to learn more about how to reduce your risk and take care of yourself. Both HPV and hepatitis B are preventable through vaccines, for example. Talk with your healthcare provider to see which vaccinations, tests and exams might be recommended for you.
The National Cancer Institute fact sheet is also a good resource to learn more about the link between infectious agents and cancer.