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8 Types of Viruses That Can Increase the Risk of Getting Cancer

Some viruses can cause cancer development, also known as oncogenic viruses. So, what viruses trigger cancer? Check out the full review below.

8 Types of Viruses That Can Increase the Risk of Getting Cancer

Various Types of Cancer Trigger Viruses

Oncogenic viruses often cause long-term and persistent infections. The following are various viruses that can cause cancer, including:

1. Human papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is a virus that is common in sexually active couples. This virus is transmitted through unsafe sex activities such as not using a condom.

The virus can spread quickly and cause initial effects such as genital warts around the genitals and sometimes spread to the neck and other parts of the body.

This virus is common in patients with cervical cancer and penile cancer. Someone who has an infection will be more susceptible to cancer even though the growth is not instantaneous.

2. Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B can be transmitted through sexual activity, using needles and blood transfusions. Hepatitis B virus infection can cause damage to the liver.

Liver cancer can also appear and have the potential to spread to many places including the lungs, intestines, to the reproductive organs.

3. Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a disease caused by an RNA virus. This cancer-causing virus enters through sexual activity or through blood transfusions, and can spread quickly and trigger chronic and acute hepatitis conditions.

If this type of hepatitis is severe, it can cause cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis triggers organ damage and liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma), a condition that can be life threatening if not treated properly.

4. Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)

EBV is one of the viruses that spreads to the throat area. If the virus has spread quickly, symptoms of pain and inflammation may occur.

About 95 percent of infections can be cured if you get good treatment. The rest will experience problems in the body such as the emergence of nasopharyngeal cancer.

Like other types of viruses, the formation of cancer does not occur directly or instantly. Cancer will appear after a few years and will be faster if there are triggers, such as smoking and consuming too much alcohol.

5. Human T-lymphotropic Virus (HTLV)

This virus can make a person experience blood cancer (leukemia). This disorder can be overcome easily if the condition is not severe. The treatment procedure for this condition is chemotherapy for 8 months or until the condition improves

6. Merkel Cell Polyomavirus (MCV)

In general, people who contract this virus occur during childhood and do not have any symptoms.

It is not clear how MCV is transmitted, experts suspect that skin-to-skin contact is a possible cause, along with contact with contaminated objects or surfaces.

MCV was first identified in cell samples from a type of cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare type of skin cancer.

7. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

HIV is a retrovirus that can lead to the development of AIDS. HIV can infect and destroy cells in the immune system called T cells. When the number of these cells is reduced, the immune system has a harder time fighting infection.

HIV can be spread through bodily fluids, including blood, semen, and vaginal secretions. Some ways of transmitting this virus include:

  • Unprotected sexual activity with a person infected with the virus.
  • Sharing needles.
  • Sharing personal items that may be contaminated with blood, including razors and toothbrushes.
  • Passing the virus to the baby at birth, especially if the mother has HIV.

Basically, HIV does not cause cancer directly. A person’s immune system has a role to fight infection and attack cancer cells.

A weakened immune system due to HIV infection can increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and cervical cancer.

8. Human Herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8)

Infection with human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8) or also known as Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). Although rare, the infection can be transmitted by saliva, sexual contact, organ transplants, and blood transfusions.

This virus can cause a rare type of cancer called Kaposi’s sarcoma. This cancer affects the lining of blood vessels and lymph vessels.

How to Lower the Risk of Getting Cancer

Basically everyone is at risk of getting cancer, but this disease can be minimized by taking several steps, including:

  • Quit smoking. Not smoking prevents you from getting certain cancers such as lung, cervical, prostate and oral cancers.
  • Implement a healthy diet. This can be done by avoiding animal fats and proteins that are consumed in excess. Increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables and avoid foods with too many preservatives.
  • Maintain weight. If you start experiencing significant weight gain and it’s hard to control, balance your diet with exercise. Do an easy exercise to get rid of fat in the body.
  • Vaccination. The first is a vaccine to prevent HPV and the second is to prevent hepatitis B. These two diseases can trigger the growth of cancer in the body even though it takes up to decades.
  • Limit sun exposure. As much as possible not to be exposed to direct sunlight for a long time.
  • Avoid dangerous and risky activities. For example, having unsafe sex with many people and sharing needles.
  • Cancer screening every year. This check is done to find out whether or not new cancer cells appear. If there are still a few cells that appear, healing can be done more quickly and easily.

Now, that’s the various types of viruses that can trigger cancer. However, if the immune system is maintained and continues to live a healthy lifestyle, the risk can decrease. Hopefully the above reviews are useful, Healthy Friends.

  1. Das, Kumars. 2021. An Overview of 8 Viruses That Can Cause Cancer. (Accessed February 13, 2023)
  2. Fick, Loraine. 2022. Viruses That Can Lead to Cancer. (Accessed February 13, 2023)
  3. Seladi-Schulman, Jill. 2019. Human T-lymphotrophic virus. 8 Viruses That Can Increase Your Cancer Risk. (Accessed February 13, 2023)

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