Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you and an unhealthy diet can increase your risk of cancer. However, not many people realize that having unprotected sex can also greatly increase your chances of developing cancer down the road. This is because many STDs can lead to cancer if left untreated, while other STDs break down your immune system and make you more vulnerable to developing cancer along with other diseases.
Here is what you need to know about the link between STDs and cancer:
You have to get tested. Just because you don’t see symptoms doesn’t mean that you are in the clear. There are certain STDs which appear completely symptom-free, but that doesn’t mean they are. In fact, there could be serious complications down the road: Cancer. The only way to ascertain that you don’t have an STD is to get tested for each and every one. If you are sexually active, STD testing is a must for both you and your partner(s).
Yearly pap smears are crucial. Pap smears will not diagnose an STD, but they could reveal abnormal cells which might signal an HPV infection. Certain strains of HPV can lead to cervical cancer so that is why Pap smears are invaluable in cancer prevention. (HPV can also lead to oral and anal cancer, as well as penile cancer in rare cases.) While there is no way to test men for HPV, men who practice anal receptive sex could ask their doctor for an anal pap smear to help detect abnormal cells.
Certain STDs can make you more likely to develop other conditions. HIV cannot cause cancer, but it can weaken your immune system and put your health at risk. As a result, you might be more likely to develop cancer down the line. Additionally, chlamydia can lengthen the HPV virus which will make the cells more likely to develop into a form of cancer. A recent study also found that herpes could increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer, and other STDs such as trichomoniasis have also been related to the development of cancer.
The bottom line is that STDs greatly impact your future and weaken your health. There is no surefire way to prevent cancer or STDs, but by practicing safer sex, limiting the number of your partners, having regular pap smears and getting tested (visit www.sexualhealth.com for more information) you can decrease your risk of developing both. Always put your health first and your sexual pleasure and health will follow naturally.