Is Cancer a virus? This is a big question recently roaming in the world of sciences.
Straight ups: Cancer is not actually a virus but certain types of viruses have shown a proven record for their ability to cause cancer.
When you hear the word “virus,” you might think of mild, transient ailments like a cold or flu. However, this is not completely true, some viruses have been related to certain cause of cancers.
Although cancer is not communicable, however, many malignancies (cancer cells) are obviously caused by viral or bacterial infections: the Epstein-Barr virus, which also causes mononucleosis, can produce lymphomas. Hepatitis B and C can lead to liver cancer. Human papillomavirus can cause cervical cancer, which is one of the main reasons for the creation of a vaccination against it. When researchers check to see if a virus or bacterium is operating in the tumor or has left indications of its presence in a patient’s blood, the answer is nearly always positive for some of these cancers.
How Do Viruses Cause Cancer?
Viruses cause cancer in a variety of ways. Viruses are extremely tiny critters. They are made up of DNA or RNA genes that are encased in a protein covering. Oncoviruses, or cancer-causing viruses, include the following:
Hepatitis C Virus and Hepatitis B Virus
HBV and HCV can result in liver infection, which can advance to cancer in the liver. If you share needles used to inject drugs, engage in unprotected intercourse, or receive a blood transfusion from infected blood, you can possibly contract these viruses.
HBV and HCV infections can possibly be treated with drugs by doctors. After a few months of treatment, you should be free of HCV. Although medication does not cure HBV, it can reduce the risk of liver damage and thus cancer.
HBV is protected by a vaccine, whereas HCV is not. Those who are at a higher risk of contracting HBV should get vaccinated. HIV-positive people, people who inject drugs, and healthcare employees all fall under this category.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is a virus family that includes over 200 viruses, and at least a dozen of which can cause cancer. HPV can be transmitted during vaginal or anal intercourse.
HPV is a virus that usually goes away on its own and does not cause any health issues. However, some people remain contaminated. Cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, tonsils, or tongue can develop if they have the HPV that causes cancer.
HPV vaccines can protect you from contracting the virus. If you haven’t been vaccinated before, they are recommended for everyone up to the age of 26. The FDA has approved a vaccine for those aged 27 to 45, but you should consult your doctor first.
Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)
EBV is a virus that affects a large number of people. It infects the majority of people at some point during their lives. People with EBV are usually asymptomatic and have no symptoms.
EBV can cause mononucleosis and other dangerous illnesses, such as viral meningitis and pneumonia, in certain people.
EBV has also been related to several malignancies (cancer virus), including:
Leiomyosarcoma, Burkitt’s lymphoma, Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder, Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, T-cell lymphomas, and Nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
Although EBV has no vaccine, you can protect yourself by taking preventive measures such as not kissing or sharing drinks, food, or personal things with someone who has the virus.
If you have EBV, there is no specific therapy, but you can alleviate symptoms by drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and using pain and fever medications.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV is majorly transmitted through unprotected sexual activity and infected needles. During pregnancy, an unborn child can also contract HIV, and a mother with HIV can pass it on to her infant if she breastfeeds.
HIV patients have a compromised immune system and are more likely to develop malignancies (cancer cells) such as:
Cervical cancer, Kaposi sarcoma, and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
If you use a condom during sex and don’t share needles used to inject drugs, you can help avoid HIV. HIV prevention drugs such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) are also available (PEP).
While there is no cure for HIV, it can be managed with medication.
Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus
T cells, a kind of white blood cell, are infected by HTLV-1. It has the potential to develop leukemia and lymphoma.
HTLV-1 can spread in a variety of ways, such as delivery or breastfeeding on the mother to child, sharing needles with people infected, having sex without condoms
Adult T-cell leukemia or other health problems affect between 2% to 5% of those infected with the virus. There’s no proven theory yet, on why some people suffering from this sickness develop leukemia and others do not. However, Each person’s symptoms of the disease and how it progresses are distinct.
Merkel Cell Polyoma Virus
MCV is a common virus that causes skin infections. It normally has no symptoms and does not develop into a malignancy. MCV, on the other hand, can produce a rare skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma in some people.
When going outside, make sure to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to help prevent Merkel cell carcinoma and other skin cancers.
As much as Cancer is not communicable, the virus has been theoretically proven and researched to cause about 5% of all cancer cases in the world.
Either ways, always engage in regular vaccine intake as prescribed above and always keep your health insured.
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