Infections Linked to Cancer

Infectious Cancer?

Can you be infected by cancer? Is cancer contagious?

Many people are taught that cancer can not spread like a contagious infection, however, that is only partially true. While cancer itself is NOT contagious some of the cause of it are easily transmissible.

According to Cancer.org, “15-20%% of all cancer is linked to (or directly caused by) INFECTIOUS DISEASES.” [R]

Decades ago that idea was laughable. In fact, many scientists believed that some infectious diseases were normal to the average healthy individual and it was widely believed that many of the infectious agents maintained a commensal relationship. However, now every few years scientists are finding more relationships between various infections and cancer.

Commensal relationships

– defined as an association between two organisms in which one benefits and the other derives neither benefit nor harm.

How Can Infections Cause Cancer?

Cancer is primarily caused by uncontrolled cell growth due to DNA damage. Many infections cause DNA damage as they grow, multiple, and survive inside the host. Many people often think if there is a chance there is an infection but there is no presence of symptoms then there is no cause of concern. However, there are a variety of ways infections can cause DNA damage, so here is a small table to show you the types of infections and how they cause damage.

Some of the damage that is done is due to the infection itself adhering to cells of your body, other times and other times the damage is due to the waste generated by the infections metabolic processes.

InfectionHow Damage OccursExample
Viruses
  • Direct modification of DNA
  • Indirect damage caused by increased long term stress on the immune system
  • Indirect damage caused by symptoms of the virus
Bacteria
  • Adhesion to cell walls, thru either:
    • A sticky glue-like substance called a biofilm
      OR
    • Thru burrowing into the stomach lining
  • Release of cytotoxins (toxins released by the bacteria that spread throughout the body)
  • Cell wall adhesion is almost like if you glue paper together and rip it apart
Parasites (including worms, bugs, and amoebas)
  • As parasites burrow into the stomach lining
  • As parasites drill into and thru soft tissue.
  • As cysts / lesions begin to form due to:
    • Immune systems inflammatory response
      OR
    • Rapid localized growth of the infection
  • Thru consuming nutrients that your cells need to grow properly
  • Some infections cause B12 deficiency after a long period of infection, which causes DNA damage because B12 is needed to properly recreate new cells from existing DNA.

Moving Foward

So if some cancer is linked to infectious disease that means there is a chance you can technically “catch cancer”.

While you will not instantly get cancer, you could get a disease like H. Pylori a very stubborn stomach bacteria that has been linked to stomach ulcers, stomach cancer, colorectal cancer and more. While the chance are relatively low of contracting the disease through everyday common interactions with coworkers, the chances skyrocket up if you are intimately involved with the infected patient or they practice poor hygiene or especially if they prepare meals for you.

Unfortunately, many practitioners are not completely aware of all of the connections between many of these diseases and cancer as the research is very new (less than 5-10 years old). Therefore may go untreated or undertreated. Even more disheartening is that many doctors are trained to treat symptoms, so if you have acid reflux you may be told to take an antiacid, even if the cause could be an H. Pylori infection. The good news is that massive education campaigns among healthcare professionals and public awareness campaigns by drug companies have helped raise awareness of two of the leading causes of infection-related cancers, HPV and H. Pylori.

The remainder of this article is simply a listing of all of the infectious diseases that are known to cause or have an indirect causal link to cancer.

 

Viruses With Links to Cancer

  • Human Papaloma Virus (HPV)
    • Vaginal
    • Penis
    • Anal
    • Mouth
    • Throat
    • Head
    • Neck
  • Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV – aka Mono)
    • Nasopharynx
    • Burkitt Lymphoma
    • Hodkins Lymphoma
    • Stomach
  • Hepatitis C (HepC)
    • Non-hodgkinds Lymphoma
  • Herpes 8 (HHS-8)
    • Skin cancer (rarely)
  • Human T-Lymphotropic Virus 1 (HTLV-1)
    • Hodgkins lymphome
    • Non-hodkgins Lymphoma
    • Mainly present in the following countries:
      • Asia
      • South America
      • Africa
      • Some parts of India
  • Merkell Cell Polyomavirus (MCV)
    • Skin Cancer (rarely)
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus / Autoimmune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV / AIDS)
    • Massively increased risk for cancers due to
      • the overburdened immune system
        OR
      • the weakened immune system (due to HIV/AIDs treatment).
    • However, there currently is no direct causal link to cancer.
  • SV40*¬†
    • Possible link to mesothelioma (research is ongoing)

 

Bacteria With Links to Cancer

  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
    • Gastric MALT Lymphoma – is a B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma
      • Full name:
        • Gastric Mucosa-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (MALT) Lymphoma
    • Stomach
    • Colorectal – this includes:
      • Large Intestine
      • Colon
      • Rectal areas
    • Small Intestine
  • Chlamydia
    • Cervical

 

Parasites With Links to Cancer

Note: Specific types of cancers may or may not be listed as some parasites can spread so broadly that they can literally cause cancer almost anywhere.

SOME INFECTIONS may NOT cause CANCER but may cause OTHER infections that may or may not lead to cancers, therefore all relevant parasites are listed here:

  • Hymenolepis Nana (Drawf Tapeworm)
  • Toxoplasma Gondi
    • Brain
    • Muscle
    • Stomach
  • Enterobius Vermicularisis (Pinworms)
    • Liver infection
    • Appendix infection
  • Ascaris¬†
    • May cause a “space-occupying lesion”
    • Lung
    • Brain
  • Schistosoma Vaematobium
  • Opishochis Viverrini
    • Liver disease
    • Cancer of the bile duct
  • Chonorchis Sinensis¬†
    • Liver disease
    • Cancer of the bile duct
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