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What is the risk of passing on prostate cancer cells to my partner during sex?

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A question posted to me on our website today, and one I have been asked before in phone calls: 


What is the risk of passing on prostate cancer cells to my partner during sex? 

Jim Marshall (not a doctor) said ...

In short


This is true whether your partner is male or female.


Some detail

Cancers cells are cells from your own body which have gone wrong because of unrepaired damage. 

Because they are your own cells they are not strongly attacked by your immune system. 

Cancer cells from someone else would be strongly attacked and killed.



Nothing to do with prostate cancer, but some types of oral cancer happen because of oral sex. Some types of oral sex are linked to human papilloma virus (HPV) infection in the mouth and throat. In this case the cancer does not spread, but the infection which may start the cancer can spread. Oral sex with your regular partner does not increase the risk - you share infections anyway. People who have oral sex with more than 6 people have a 3.4 times higher risk of throat cancer.

... end Jim


Even more detail about cancers

From the USA National Cancer Institute (NCI)

What Is Cancer?

Updated: 02/08/2013


Defining Cancer

Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems.


Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. 


There are more than 100 different types of cancer. 


Most cancers are named for the organ or type of cell in which they start - for example, cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer; cancer that begins in melanocytes of the skin is called melanoma.


Cancer types can be grouped into broader categories. The main categories of cancer include:

Carcinoma - cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs. There are a number of subtypes of carcinoma, including adenocarcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and transitional cell carcinoma.

Sarcoma - cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue.

Leukemia - cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood.

Lymphoma and myeloma - cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system.

Central nervous system cancers - cancers that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.


Origins of Cancer

All cancers begin in cells, the body's basic unit of life. To understand cancer, it's helpful to know what happens when normal cells become cancer cells.


The body is made up of many types of cells. These cells grow and divide in a controlled way to produce more cells as they are needed to keep the body healthy. When cells become old or damaged, they die and are replaced with new cells.


However, sometimes this orderly process goes wrong. The genetic material (DNA) of a cell can become damaged or changed, producing mutations that affect normal cell growth and division. When this happens, cells do not die when they should and new cells form when the body does not need them. The extra cells may form a mass of tissue called a tumor.


Not all tumors are cancerous; tumors can be benign or malignant.

Benign tumors aren't cancerous. They can often be removed, and, in most cases, they do not come back. Cells in benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body.

Malignant tumors are cancerous. Cells in these tumors can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis.

Some cancers do not form tumors. For example, leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood

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