Largely preventable or treatable infection causes one in six cancer, report says

Friday 11 May 2012

Around 16 in every hundred cancers worldwide in 2008 were infection-related, according to a report in the Lancet.

Eighty per cent of these cases occur in less developed parts of the world, where measures to prevent and treat infections are not always widely available.

According to authors Catherine de Martel and Martyn Plummer from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, infections with certain viruses, bacteria, and parasites are one of the biggest and preventable causes of cancer worldwide.

They recommend a wider application of existing public-health methods for infection prevention.

According to the authors, of 12.7m new cancers in 20008, 16.1 per cent were attributable to infectious agents - that is around 2m cases.

Helicobacter pylori, hepatitis B and C viruses, and human papillomaviruses were responsible for 1·9m cases.

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