FRIDAY, Feb. 14, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The odds of reporting cancer are increased for men and women with a history of 10 or more lifetime sexual partners, according to a study published online Feb. 13 in BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health.

Igor Grabovac, M.D., from the Medical University Vienna, and colleagues used cross-sectional data for 2,537 men and 3,185 women aged ≥50 years participating in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing to examine the associations between lifetime number of sexual partners and health outcomes.

The researchers found that compared with having had zero to one sexual partners, having had 10 or more lifetime sexual partners was associated with higher odds of reporting a diagnosis of cancer for men and women (odds ratios, 1.69 and 1.91, respectively). The odds of reporting a limiting long-standing illness were also increased for women who had 10 or more lifetime sexual partners (odds ratio, 1.64). The investigators observed no other statistically significant associations.

“Enquiring about the number of sexual partners a patient has had may be a simple and cost-effective complement to existing cancer screening programs in identifying those at risk of certain cancers, although further work is required first in order to replicate our findings and establish whether a causal relationship exists,” the authors write.

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