Can Infections be a Cause for Cancers?

Dr. Ankita Baidya who is a consultant for infectious diseases at Manipal Hospital Dwarka, New Delhi, explains as to whether infections can be a cause for Cancers or not.

When the infection becomes chronic it can lead to cancerous situations in the organ where the infection was present. She further elaborates on a few infections that may lead to cancer in their area of presence but can be prevented with timely vaccination.

The most common example in this case is the Liver Cancer that happens due to the presence of Hepatitis B and C virus. Hepatitis is also called the silent disease. If this infection turns chronic and is left untreated or somehow goes undetected within time, then it leads to cancer. But there is good news that the infection can be prevented as there is vaccine available for Hepatitis. It contains three doses. Whether you require the vaccine or not can confirmed with your nearest doctor, who checks the number of antibodies present in your body and then decides the dosage accordingly. And thus, the probability of liver cancer is lessened.

Next comes the Cervical cancer and the Genital Cancer found in females and males respectively. These cancers are a result of the Human Papilloma Virus’s (HPV) chronic infection. This virus infects the cervix, a female reproductive organ. It brings about inflammatory changes in the Cervix that may lead to cancerous conditions but on the brighter side, the vaccine for this virus is available too. Its administration on the right time is extremely important, right time being when the virus has yet not entered the body that is during a young female’s childhood or teenage years. However, if the vaccination is not done during this time, it can be done later on as well, after the HPV test turns out to be negative and thus, reducing the risk for cervical cancer.

Thirdly comes the Gastric Cancer. It has been observed that the lining of the stomach is infected by a small bacterium called H. pylori. This bacterium causes chronic gastritis and gradually certain changes take place in that area of the stomach mucosa which may prove to be cancerous. Just like the above cases if one gets tested for H. pylori infection within time, then the chances of getting gastric cancer are minimised.

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