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Chlamydia linked to cervical cancer

Chlamydia linked to cervical cancer

Researchers in Finland report that the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia may be linked with cervical cancer risk, according to a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reuters Health reports. Women with persistent chlamydia infection were shown to be at a significantly higher risk of developing cervical cancer than women who rid themselves of the infection or never acquire it, according to the research team at the University of Helsinki-Finland. More than 175 women with invasive cervical cancer and more than 500 cancer-free women were studied. Blood samples showed those women with chlamydia were more likely to have developed cervical cancer. Although most cervical cancer cases are caused by a different sexually transmitted disease, human papillomavirus, the researchers say chlamydia infection could be a cofactor in cancer development. "Chlamydia trachomatis is an immunomodulator, which causes chronic inflammation and may alter the host immune response and ultimately inhibit spontaneous clearance of HPV," lead researcher Jorma Paavonen told Reuters Health. The study "further emphasizes the importance of sexual health education in primary prevention and chlamydia screening programs in the secondary prevention of chlamydial infections, particularly since the vast majority of genital chlamydial infections are asymptomatic," Paavonen said.

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