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Infection causes one in six new cancer cases – study

/ 08:21 AM May 09, 2012

PARIS – Largely preventable or treatable infections with viruses, bacteria and parasites cause about two million new cancer cases and 1.5 million cancer deaths each year, said a study published Wednesday.

This amounted to about one in six of the 12.7 million new cancer cases reported in 2008, said the report in The Lancet Oncology journal.

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“Application of existing public health methods for infection prevention, such as vaccination, safer injection practice or antimicrobial treatments, could have a substantial effect on the future burden of cancer worldwide,” said the report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.

Four infections, hepatitis B and C, human papillomavirus (HPV) and the Helicobacter pylori stomach bacteria, accounted for the bulk of the cases, some 1.9 million – mostly gastric, liver and cervical cancers.

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Infection-related cancers accounted for 3.3 percent of new cases in Australia and New Zealand, but 32.7 percent in sub-Saharan Africa, said the report, based on a study of 27 cancer types in 184 countries.

Cervical cancer accounted for half the infection-related cancers in women, and liver and gastric cancers for 80 percent of cases in men.

“Around 30 percent of infection-attributable cases occur in people younger than 50 years,” said the report.

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TAGS: cancer, Diseases, Health, infection, International Agency for Research on Cancer
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