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Treatable Infections Responsible For Nearly 2M Cases Of Cancer Globally Each Year, Study Suggests

“Bacteria, viruses and parasites cause around two million cases of cancer in the world each year, experts believe,” the Press Association/Guardian reports. According to the news service, “Scientists carried out a statistical analysis of cancer incidence to calculate that around 16 percent of all cancers diagnosed in 2008 were infection-related,” and “[t]he proportion of cancers linked to infection was three times higher in developing countries than in developed ones.”

Four “[k]ey cancer-causing infectious agents” — including human papillomavirus (HPV), the gastric bug Helicobacter pylori, hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) — “were together believed to be responsible for 1.9 million cases of cancer, mostly gastric, liver and cervical cancers,” the news service writes. “Dr. Catherine de Martel and Dr. Martyn Plummer, from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, wrote in the Lancet Oncology journal: ‘Infections with certain viruses, bacteria, and parasites are one of the biggest and preventable causes of cancer worldwide. … Application of existing public health methods for infection prevention, such as vaccination, safer injection practice, or antimicrobial treatments, could have a substantial effect on future burden of cancer worldwide,'” the Press Association notes (5/9).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.