Can Bladder Cancer be Sexually Transmitted?

Saima Andrabi   by Saima Andrabi, MS, Clinical Biochemistry    Last updated on April 20, 2021,

can you get cancer through intercourse

The word "cancer" can bring fear and confusion in people. It is one of those topics we don’t like to talk about. Therefore, there remains many basic questions that don’t find answers. One of them is whether bladder cancer can be passed through sexual intercourse or through sperm.

The question perhaps comes because certain sexually transmitted infections such as human papillomavirus (HPV) are considered to be linked to the development of cancer.

Therefore, someone may believe that the bladder cancer might be contagious and can be passed through sex.

Can you get cancer through intercourse?

Not only bladder cancer but any cancer cannot be transmitted through sex in the conventional sense.

Let’s try to understand this in a bit more detail.

Cancer is not contagious in the way you get cold or flu or any other infectious disease or condition. Therefore, if you touch or kiss or do sex with someone, it cannot be passed.

It’s perfectly fine to kiss or touch someone with bladder cancer or with any other type of cancer. Doctors, in fact, recommend intimacy through touch as it can help a friend or your loved one better cope with the condition. It can help get rid of the feelings of isolation a person may experience during cancer treatments.

What about unprotected sex - can u get cancer from sperm?

No. Even an unprotected sex cannot transmit the bladder or any other type of cancer. Cancer is not classified as an infectious disease.

You can’t pass the cancer to the partner or make the condition worse by having sex.

Intimacy during bladder cancer

Some people with bladder cancer do maintain fairly normal sex lives during their treatment. But a lot depends on the type of treatment you are going through. In some cases, the sex life and relationships may be changed significantly.

You should ask your doctor how the treatment may affect your sexual activity. He or she may ask you to take certain precautions.

For example, if a male partner is getting chemotherapy, he may be asked to use good quality latex condom for several days after the treatment is completed. This is because chemotherapy drug traces may be present in his semen and an unprotected sex may cause the female partner to be exposed to them during an intercourse.

It is necessary to use a condom whether doing vaginal, anal, or oral sex at least till the time you are sure that the drugs are out of the body. Your doctor can guide you about the exact timing.

In fact, any activity (and not just sex) that is capable of potentially transmitting a virus or bacteria or other infective agents should be avoided during the treatment phase and for a defined period after the treatment is over.

But this does not mean that cancer is contagious. Do not worry about it. As for the cancer, you cannot catch it. The precautions recommended by doctors are for other benefits or to avoid certain harmful effects. Even if you do not consider them, you will not get bladder cancer or any other cancer. You will though be at risk of other problems.

Saima Andrabi

Saima Andrabi is a clinical biochemist and is passionate about driving knowledge platforms for creating health awareness in the general public. She pursued her master’s degree in clinical biochemistry from University of Kashmir, Srinagar followed by an internship from National Institute of pathology, New Delhi. Her areas of interest include molecular biology, immunology, medical physiology and forensic medicine. Saima is very much interested in writing medical content and wants to create awareness in public through this platform.


Currently, Saima Andrabi is working at Maxinov Solutions Private LTD as a research associate and is associated with DiseaseFix as a medical content writer.

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