Having more than 10 sexual partners over a lifetime is linked to increased odds of getting cancer, researchers have shown.
omen with a higher number of sexual partners are more likely to report a limiting, long-term condition, experts from the UK, Austria, Turkey, Canada and Italy found.
The researchers analysed data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) involving adults aged 50 and over in England.
A total of 5,722 participants reported how many sexual partners they had had and rated their health and any long-term condition on a questionnaire in 2012/13.
Those who had more sexual partners were younger, more likely to smoke, drink frequently and do more vigorous physical activity each week, the researchers said.
The average age of participants was 64, and almost three-quarters were married.
Twenty-two per cent of men and 8pc of women reported 10 or more sexual partners.
The researchers found a statistically significant association between the number of lifetime sexual partners and risk of a cancer diagnosis.
Compared with women who reported one or fewer sexual partners, those who said they had had 10 or more had 91pc increased odds of being diagnosed with cancer.
Men who reported two to four lifetime sexual partners were 57pc more likely to have been diagnosed with cancer than those who reported one or fewer partners.
Those who reported 10 or more, were 69pc more likely to have been diagnosed with the disease.
The study, published in BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health, also found that women who reported five to nine or more than 10 lifetime sexual partners were 64pc more likely to have a limiting chronic condition than those who said they had had one or fewer.
The study mirrors previous findings linking sexu- ally transmitted infections in the development of several cancers.
The small number of cancer diagnoses meant the researchers were not able to analyse the results broken down by cancer type.