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Study shows infections may cause cancer

A nurse changes an IV in this undated photo.

May 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Recent findings by The Lancet Oncology journal show that one in six cancer cases are caused by some form of viral, bacterial or parasitic infection.

The study showed that about two million people worldwide developed cancer due to an infection in 2008. Researchers say the primary cancer-causing infections were the human papilloma virus (HPV), a gastric infection called helicobacter pylori and the hepatitis B and C viruses.

Out of the two million people who developed cancer due to infection, about 80 percent of cases occurred in developing countries, with the most common cancers being gastric, liver or cervical.

For women, about half of cancer cases due to infection were cervical or uteri while liver and gastric cancers accounted for more than 80 percent of cases in men.

Scientists suggest that infection prevention practices like vaccination and antimicrobial treatments are the best way of preventing these cancers.