Suffering from STDs can increase the risk of prostate cancer in men.Oleh Slobodeniuk/Flickr

Suffering from one of the most common types of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) can increase the risk of prostate cancer in men, a new study reveals.

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles found a parasite that causes trichomoniasis called trichomonas vaginalis playing a major role in this occurrence.

Experiments conducted on the lab showed that a protein discharged by trichomonas vaginalis stimulated growth of prostate cells, prompted an inflammatory response, and led to the development of tumour in men.

"The presence of anti-TvMIF antibodies indicates that TvMIF is released by the parasite and elicits host immune responses during infection," the authors wrote.

"Together, these data indicate that chronic T. vaginalis infections may result in TvMIF-driven inflammation and cell proliferation, thus triggering pathways that contribute to the promotion and progression of prostate cancer."

Concerned with their findings, researchers Patricia Johnson and colleagues recommended men to undergo regular screening for the sexually transmitted disease and lower their risk of the deadly disease.

Nearly 275 million people around the world carry the parasite, according to a CDC report. Though the infection can be cured easily, according to the agency, these types of STDs do not cause any visible symptoms and majority of the people (70 percent) fail to detect their infection. It is found more common in women than men; however, women can pass the parasite to their sex partner during an intercourse. In some people, symptoms will start appearing within five to 28 days after the infection. When infected with trichomoniasis, some men will start getting symptoms like irritation inside penis, discharge from penis, burning sensation while passing out urine or while ejaculating. An untreated trichomoniasis can make men and women at higher risk of getting a HIV infection.

Metronidazole or tinidazole are the two medications available to treat this infection.

"Trichomoniasis can be successfully treated with a single dose of antibiotics," Johnson, said in a news release. "But more than 70 percent of cases in men are asymptomatic, so many people are unaware they have it and do not seek treatment."

The study has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the tissues of prostate. According to the Cancer Research, UK nearly 8, 99,000 men in the world were diagnosed with prostate cancer and the deadly disease claimed 2, 58,000 lives in 2008.

Here are some factors that increase the risk of prostate cancer:

  • Ageing
  • Family history
  • Mutation in the BRCA2 gene
  • Height
  • History of Kidney cancer
  • High calcium intake
  • Obesity