Cancer causing viruses can damage either the DNA or the RNA of your cells. The link between viruses and different cancers was established during the early 1950s. A virus can damage healthy cells by causing genetic materials in them to change.
HPV and Epstein Barr prefer to attack the DNA of your cells causing extensive damage to them. On the other hand, Hepatitis C is a virus that causes tumor to grow by attacking the RNA of your cells.
But your body is incredibly made because it can fight these viruses. That is, if your immune system is healthy. There are also prevention steps you can do against them. For example, to prevent HPV, abstinence from sexual intercourse at an early age is one step.
1. Human Papilloma Virus or HPV
The Human Papilloma Virus or HPV alters your cells by meddling with the proteins that suppress tumors. The meddling action causes your cells that are infected with HPV to proceed into a different stage of the cell cycle.
When this happens, the HPV gene gets replicated, causing abnormal change in the cell.
HPV is a genital warts type of tumor causing human virus that attacks the cervix. In fact, scientists say that if you have the invasive type of cervical tumor, you certainly were infected with HPV before your diagnosis.
HPV is basically sexually transmitted. In fact, being sexually active with multiple partners is found to be the major factor causing genital HPV infections. And as high as 40% of HPV cases are found among young women who are sexually active with different partners.
Common sense tells you that a step on prevention against HPV infection is really abstinence or monogamy as much as possible. A vaccine for HPV is also available and is recommended for young girls and boys starting at age 15.
It is possible for you to be infected with HPV but never develop tumors in the cervix. Other factors such as an unhealthy lifestyle still influence your chances of developing them.
If you smoke, the harmful effects of tobacco use and a long-term infection with the HPV may then give rise to tumors.
2. Epstein Barr Virus or EBV
EBV is another one of the known cancer causing viruses. It is associated with four types of tumors such as:
EBV is one of the common human viruses. Many people are infected with EBV particularly during childhood. In fact, 50% of us get Epstein-Barr during our childhood.
Being infected with EBV after childhood is found to be what is causing grandular fever. But it doesn't not necessarily lead to tumors.
Like any other viruses, EBV targets your B lymphocyte cells. But your immune system has killer T-cells that can destroy any of the viruses before they can cause damage. Sometimes, viruses are too strong that they are able to penetrate your B lymphocytes causing damage to your healthy cells. If you have a healthy immune system, your T-cells can control the growth of the infected cells.
Think about this . . .
Most people can have EBV, one of the potentially dangerous cancer causing viruses, all their lives and not develop tumors.
What makes them invincible to EBV? I'm certain they have a well-functioning immune system.
Here's the catch: Long-term infection with EBV causes tumors to develop.
Infection with EBV may cause you to develop post-transplant lymphoma or PTL. The risk increases if you have undergone an organ transplant and are receiving drugs to suppress your T-cells to prevent the rejection of the transplanted organ.
Late-stage AIDS patients are also at a higher risk of developing PTL because their T-cells have been damaged by HIV infection.
EBV infection causes Burkitt lymphoma which is a subtype of B cell lymphoma. It usually affects children. This type of cancer is rare in the Western world but very common in sub-Saharan Africa and New Guinea.
Burkitt's lymphoma is a result of EBV infection and repeated attacks of malaria.
Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) is also linked to EBV, one of the cancer causing viruses. About 40% of HL cases in Western countries are EBV-positive. In fact, 4 out of 10 cases of HL in the U.K. seem to be related to EBV infection.
Read more: What is Lymphoma?.
Naso-pharyngeal is another type of tumor that is connected to the EB Virus. The number of NPC cases are curiously much higher in Southeast Asia especially in Southern China.
It is thought that two other factors may be causing the high incidence of the disease and hindering its prevention. These factors are:
3. Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B (HBV) is different from the other Hepatitis viruses because it is one of the DNA-type cancer causing viruses. If you are infected with HBV early in your life, it can make you its carrier and damage to your liver is expected. Infection with HBV leads to liver tumor in 0.47% of hepatitis B patients per year.
The Hepa B virus attacks and replicates in the liver cells. If you are a chronic HBV carrier, you have a 20 to 100-fold higher risk of liver cancer than someone who is not infected. However, a vaccine for effective prevention of HBV infection is available.
How is HBV transmitted? Transmission is either through:
4. Human Herpes Virus 8
Human Herpes Virus 8 is a type of virus causing Kaposi’s sarcoma, which is a type of tumor that grows on your skin.
Related Article: What Is Skin Cancer
Like EBV, the Human herpes virus 8 prefers to attack your body's B lymphocytes although its effects on B cell growth are more subtle.
How can you protect yourself from these cancer causing viruses? Prevention begins with a healthy lifestyle. Taking Ganoderma extract supplements also help against those pesky viruses.
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