About two million of the 13 million new cancer cases that occur worldwide each year due to infections caused by viruses, macro-parasites (such as that causes malaria), and bacteria.
Of these two million cancer cases, 1.9 million are caused by the human papilloma virus, hepatitis B and C, and stomach bacteria, Helicobacter pylori.
The proportion of cancers caused by infection tends to be higher in developing countries (23%) than in developed countries (7%).
In certain parts of the world this proportion is even more impressive, in areas south of the Sahara, liver cancers and stomach in men account for 80% of all cases.
These infections have problems themselves-fever, nausea, vomiting, weight loss-but can also cause cancer in the long term if not effectively treated.
H. pylori infection is the primary cause of stomach cancer.
This cancer is the second that causes more deaths worldwide, killing about 740,000 people in 2008. Stomach cancer is less common in the United States and other Western countries in Asia or South America.
Cancer is the bacteria, but the bacteria have not always cause cancer.
At least half of the world’s population is infected with H. pylori, ie 3.500 million people, but only 2% of these infections cause stomach cancer.
H. pylori infection can be treated with antibiotics and this reduces the risk of cancer.
The risk of infection increases under the following conditions
Transmission can occur in the following ways
Check with your doctor if the above symptoms do not go away in a few days or worsen.
Remember: H. pylori infection can cause stomach cancer, but the infection can be successfully treated with antibiotics, thus reducing the risk of cancer.
Robert Newton, “Cancers attributed to the global burden-infections,” (in English), Society for General Microbiology, February 18, 2013.
National Cancer Institute, “The bacterium Helicobacter pylori and cancer,” (accessed September 7, 2013).