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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

Common virus could increase cancer risk
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Common virus could increase cancer risk image

The Epstein-Barr virus—one of the most common infections in the world—seems to increase the risk for several cancers, including breast cancer. The virus changes cells in the breast that could lead to cancer decades later, scientists surmise.

The discovery—if proven to be correct—could help in screening and prevention, say researchers from Harvard Medical School.

Around 90 per cent of people carry the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and most without suffering any ill effects—but it could raise the risk of some cancers, the researchers believe. Aside from breast cancer, the researchers have identified African Burkitt lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system), Hodgkin’s disease (another cancer of the lymphatic system), nasopharyngeal (nose and throat) carcinoma, gastric adenocarcinoma and leiomyosarcoma (soft tissue cancer) as cancers that could be more likely with the virus.


References

(Source: Ebio Medicine, 2016; 9: 148)

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