Germs as cancer triggers - Many diseases avoidable
Health experts like to point out that the risk of cancer can be significantly reduced by refraining from smoking, not drinking too much alcohol, eating little meat, exercising regularly and avoiding being overweight. But cancer can also be caused by certain bacteria and viruses. It is therefore important to protect yourself from the germs.
Bacteria and viruses can cause cancer
Experts repeatedly point out how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce the personal risk of cancer. Smoking, alcohol, high meat consumption, obesity or obesity and lack of exercise are usually identified as typical risk factors that must be avoided. But some bacteria and viruses can also cause cancer.
When it comes to cancer prevention measures, the fight against smoking is mentioned above all. Another way to reduce personal cancer risk is to limit alcohol consumption.
According to scientific evidence, alcohol can trigger seven different types of cancer.
Furthermore, it is recommended to pay attention to a healthy diet, to avoid certain meat products such as salted sausage and to avoid being overweight. According to a recent study, the latter increases the risks of eleven cancer diseases.
An active sporting life can also prevent cancer.
What is often overlooked in cancer prevention: Every year millions of cancers worldwide are caused by infections with viruses or bacteria. Many of these diseases could be avoided.
These four germs can cause cancer
According to research by a team of researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (an agency of the World Health Organization (WHO)), around two million cancers can be attributed to infections worldwide each year.
The scientists around Martyn Plummer used the global cancer database Globocan for their work.
"Infections with certain viruses, bacteria and parasites are one of the largest and most preventable causes of cancer worldwide," said the researchers.
The experts identified bacteria from the genus Helicobacter pylori, hepatitis B and C viruses and human papilloma viruses (HPV) as the most important preventable triggers of the infections, which can lead to the formation of tumors.
Helicobacter pylori promote stomach cancer
Infections with the gastric bacterium Helicobacter pylori are widespread, according to health experts, and they are considered the most important risk factor for the development of stomach cancer.
However, it remained unclear for a long time why this is so. German researchers recently reported why Helicobacter pylori leads to stomach cancer.
According to the scientists, the number of cells with stem cell potential and with them the risk of a pathological change increases under the influence of the bacterium.
The first sign of bacterial infection is often acute gastritis. Doctors advise patients who repeatedly suffer from gastric mucosal inflammation to take a combination of antibiotics and gastric acid inhibitors. This also lowers the risk of cancer.
However, some experts advise against taking such medications for a long time.
Vaccination for cancer prevention
Human papilloma viruses (HPV) are also widespread. The pathogens usually get into the skin or mucous membrane through sexual intercourse. In most cases, an infection goes unnoticed and heals itself.
However, some of the viruses also persist, causing cell changes from which a malignant tumor can develop over time.
Since HPV can cause cervical cancer, among other things, vaccination against the viruses is relatively common among girls and young women.
The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) recommends HPV vaccination for girls from the age of 9, with the aim of significantly reducing the number of cervical cancer cases in the future.
According to some experts, it is also effective for boys and protects, among other things, against genital warts and precursors of penile and anal cancer.
Second most common cause of cancer-related death
According to health experts, liver cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide and the fastest growing cancer.
In addition to high alcohol consumption, infections with hepatitis viruses B and C are in second place among all causes of liver cancer.
The C virus can also increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, colon cancer and kidney cancer.
Many diseases could be avoided because hepatitis C can almost always be cured. Unfortunately, many patients are unaware of their liver inflammation.
To date, no vaccine is available against hepatitis C, but very well against hepatitis B. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other experts advise hepatitis B vaccination for all newborns. This could prevent numerous diseases. (ad)