backup og meta

Can Chlamydia Lead to Cancer?

Medically reviewed by John Paul Abrina, MD · Oncology · Davao Doctors Hospital


Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Jul 25, 2022

Can Chlamydia Lead to Cancer?

Perhaps the only thing worse than being infected with one disease is being infected with two. This is one of the fears of people who are suffering from chlamydia. While chlamydia isn’t fatal, another more malignant disease is. Can chlamydia lead to cancer?”

What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia trachomatis is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria. It mostly affects women of all age groups. If it is left untreated, chlamydia can lead to serious health problems. Human papillomavirus (HPV) and chlamydia trachomatis are the most common pathogens of STIs, which can increase the risk of infertility.

Chlamydia infections often leave no signs or symptoms in the early stages. The symptoms are usually mild when they occur, making them easy to overlook. Painful urination, vaginal discharge in women, and discharge from the penis in men are some of its symptoms. Painful sexual intercourse in women, bleeding between periods and after sex in women, and testicular pain in men are other symptoms.

Can chlamydia lead to cancer?

A meta-analysis was conducted in 2016 to determine whether a Chlamydia trachomatis infection increases the risk of cervical cancer in women. That meta-analysis concluded that individuals infected with Chlamydia trachomatis have a heightened risk of developing cervical cancer.

In addition, it noted that it was necessary to expand Chlamydia trachomatis infection screening and treat women with infection in a timely manner. This approach will not only protect against pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility, it can also possibly prevent and reduce the incidence of cervical cancer.

A 2014 study noted a possible connection between Chlamydia trachomatis infection and HPV infection. Infection by high-risk HPV is crucial to the manner of development of invasive cervical cancer. Several epidemiological studies have stated a positive association involving Chlamydia trachomatis and HPV-related cervical neoplastic lesions and/or cervical cancer. Still, the specific role of this bacterium in the development of cervical neoplasia has not been completely clarified.

Chlamydia pneumoniae and lung cancer

Chlamydia pneumoniae is a type of bacteria that causes respiratory tract infections. This bacterium causes people to get sick by damaging the lining of the respiratory tract including the throat, windpipe, and lungs. This species of chlamydia spreads when people cough or sneeze small respiratory droplets that contain the bacteria. It is similar to how COVID-19 spreads in that sense.

Chlamydia pneumoniae has been hypothesized to cause lung cancer. Studies conducted in 2005 noted a connection between the bacteria and cancer. Inflammation caused by chronic infection with Chlamydia pneumoniae may be involved in the development of cancer. 

Key Takeaways

Sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia have long been feared to lead to more serious conditions like cervical cancer. Chlamydia trachomatis usually affects women and can lead to health problems if untreated. Studies have concluded that people with Chlamydia trachomatis are more prone to developing cervical cancer.

Chlamydia pneumoniae is a type of bacteria related to chlamydia that causes respiratory tract infections. It damages the lining of the respiratory tract, including the windpipe, throat, and lungs. This bacterium spreads when people cough or sneeze. It has been hypothesized to cause lung cancer, but further studies are required before anything definitive is stated.

For more on Chlamydia, check it out here.

Disclaimer

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

John Paul Abrina, MD

Oncology · Davao Doctors Hospital


Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Jul 25, 2022

ad iconadvertisement

Was this article helpful?

ad iconadvertisement
ad iconadvertisement