• Scientists have been trying to understand the link between infectious diseases and cancer 
  • A recent study established a clear link between the occurrences of four ailments and later cancer growth
  • Higher infection rates were often experienced prior to cancer development 

A study that has been published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research may help in the development of new diagnostic methods for detecting the presence of cancers. It suggests that before a form of cancer develops, the victim experiences first an increased rate of infectious diseases.

Cancer and Inflammation

Past researches indicate the presence of a link between inflammation, immunity, and cancer. Scientists say inflammation can stimulate the development of any type of cancer. This can affect the immune system of a person, which can then increase inflammation.

Dr. Shinako Inaida, a co-author of the study, said that the inflammatory environment brought about by infections and immunity disruption could promote the development of cancer. The same result is obtained if the person is exposed to chemical carcinogens or has a genetic or chronic condition.

scientists found link between infectious diseases and later cancer growth
scientists found link between infectious diseases and later cancer growth PublicDomainPictures - Pixabay

Dr. Inaida is a visiting researcher at Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Medicine in Japan. “An individual’s immunity is thought to be a factor in the development of cancer, but additional research is needed to understand the relationship [between] precancerous immunity, infections, and cancer development. This information may contribute to efforts to prevent or detect cancer,” he said.

More Than 50,000 Participants

Scientists have always wanted to fully understand the link between the incidences of particular infectious diseases that causes inflammation and cancer development. To achieve this, the study’s authors looked at data from a 7-year social health insurance system database in Japan. Data from 50,749 participants were analyzed by researchers.

All of the participants were more than 30 years old and were not suffering from any detected immunodeficiency. They were divided into two groups, namely the control group, which had 48,395 participants, and the case group, which comprises of 2,354 participants. The authors then examined the prevalence of hepatitis, influenza, pneumonia, and gastroenteritis for the two groups.

An Obvious Link Between Cancer And Infection Rates

The authors were able to establish a clear link between the occurrences of the four ailments and later growth of cancer. Higher infection rates were experienced by the case group compared to the control group in the six years before cancer diagnosis. Case group members also experienced higher infection rates in the year before being diagnosed with cancer compared to control group members.

The authors also observed the presence of a link between different infections and various forms of cancer. By showing the clear link of infections, immunity, inflammation, and cancer development, researchers hope future studies can examine in detail the precise mechanisms that control these relationships.