Semen risk not likely to affect cervical cancer says Cancer Research UK

In collaboration with the Press Association

Research which suggests that semen may encourage the growth of cervical or womb tumours is unlikely to affect women with cervical cancer, Cancer Research UK has said.

The comments were issued following a Medical Research Council study found that high levels of a substance in semen could encourage cancer growth in the laboratory.

The substance, known as prostaglandin, is naturally found in the cells lining womens' reproductive organs and helps to regulate cell growth and the menstrual cycle.

Levels of prostaglandin in semen are up to 1,000 times higher, but Professor John Toy of Cancer Research UK said that there was little risk to women with cervical cancer.

"The likelihood of any unprotected sex affecting the successful outcome of their treatment is considered slight," said Professor Toy.

"This is an interesting piece of laboratory research but it has little relevance to women already diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK because they will already be receiving appropriate anti-cancer treatment."

The research is published in Endocrinology and Human Reproduction.

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