New research has found that if you have more than 10 sexual partners throughout your life, you are more likely at risk of cancer.
Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge questioned more than 5,000 adults about how many sexual partners they had and were asked to rate their health and provide a history of any long-standing medical conditions.
The study published in the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health found that women with more than 10 sexual partners throughout their lives were 91 percent more likely to be diagnosed with any type of cancer. The cancer risk was relatively less in virgins and the women who had only one sexual partner.
On the other, men who had 10 or more sexual partners were 69 percent more likely to be diagnosed with cancer.
The researchers were not able to find the exact reason behind this association, but they said sexually transmitted infections (STIs) could be the reason between multiple sex partners and certain malignant tumors.
Studies have found the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is responsible for more than 99 percent of cervical cancer in women, can spread through sexual contact. The virus is also associated with cancers of the anus, mouth, and throat.
The researchers looked at data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, tracking adults over the age of 50. They questioned 2,537 men and 3,185 women.
“The heightened risk of cancer might be driven by those types known to be associated with [sexually transmitted infections],” the researchers wrote.
The findings suggest that physicians should ask their patients about their sexual history while screening them for cancer.
The study also found that women with five or more lifetime sexual partners were 64 percent more likely to suffer from “limiting chronic condition.” However, the same was not found in men.