Can Prostate Cancer Be Transmitted Sexually?
Is prostate cancer really sexually transmitted? When a partner has prostate cancer, it is normal to consider the possibility whether the prostate cancer be transmitted through sexual contact. Although, women do not have prostate gland, but they do have gland known as Skene’s gland situated at the inferior end of the urethra. Skene’s gland is considered a rudimentary gland similar that functioned similar to a prostate gland in embryo, but regresses in females. These glands are of various sizes and shapes in different women. Although, very rare, there have been reported cancerous cases of Skene’s gland. The tumor cells have been known to produce PSA (prostate specific antigen), similar to tumors of prostate gland.
Regardless of whether there is a link between prostate cancer and sexually transmitted diseases, it is highly unlikely that a woman would extract prostate cancer from her partner. Even if it is hypothesized that prostate cancer is sexually transmitted, the moment it is transmitted to a different body/host the immune system will fight out the foreign cancer cells.
Relation Of Prostate Cancer With Sexually Transmitted Infections
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers that rank third in mortality among all cancers in men. It is estimated that one is every six men has an increased likelihood of prostate cancer. However, there are only few risk factors, such as smoking, obesity/overweight and increasing age that have proven for the initiation of prostate cancer. Other cancers such as cervix, stomach, liver and bladder have been related to an infection for possible risk association.
Inflammation has been associated for both the induction and promotion of cancer that may in turn increase the turnover rate of the involved cells. There have been studies involving the association of prostatitis and prostate cancer with higher frequency of prostate cancer risk in patients with a history of prostatitis. Although, the exact manner in which an inflammation influences prostate cancer is still unclear.
A study has also linked Chlamydia trachomatis to sexually transmitted disease. Trichomoniasis is a non-viral sexually transmitted infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis that is highly curable disease. The infection can range from being asymptomatic to having symptoms of dysuria, pruritus and soreness/discomfort in the vaginal/penile area along with vaginal discharge. The study postulated the formation of a protein due to the infection that leads to inflammation in prostate cells, which subsequently increases the likelihood of benign and cancerous cell growth. In addition, it was also associated with advanced and aggressive cancers.
A couple of previous analyses have linked prostate cancer and sexually transmitted diseases; however, the majority of these cases were self-reported by military personnel in whom the highest prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases was reported as against civilians. Chlamydia trachomatis, human papilloma virus and herpes simplex virus-2 were the most commonly reported STIs in these men. Some studies support the relation between sexually transmitted diseases while others do not support their relation; therefore the studies have been fluctuating regarding these two. It is too early to link these two conditions at such an early stage and more research and studies need to be done to confirm a link between the etiology of sexually transmitted diseases and prostate cancer.
Etiology Of Prostate Cancer
The etiology of prostate cancer is idiopathic and the cause is still unknown. Prostate cancer has been attributed to the changes in the genes of normal prostate cell. The anomaly of the genes leads to changes in cell growth and division along with apoptosis. Hereditary prostate cancer has been linked to mutations in RNASEL, MSH2, MLH1, BRCA1, BRCA2 and HOXB13 genes. However, there are more reported cases of prostate cancer due to acquired gene mutations. They have been linked to increased levels of testosterone and insulin-like growth factor-1; however, these factors are still not fully understood and need further studies. Radiation and some chemicals leading to cancer have been associated with the mutations in prostate cells leading to cancer. However, all these need further validation.