15% of cancers are infection-related — Expert (DETAILS) - Full Gist News


Thursday, 21 September 2017

15% of cancers are infection-related — Expert (DETAILS)

An expert in genetics and cancer, Dr Akinyemi Ojesina,  has stated that about 15 per cent of all cancers are associated with one form of germ or the other, warning that cancer is still a major burden globally.

Ojesina, an assistant professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Alabama, Birmingham, United States of America, said this in a guest lecture entitled “Mutations, Microbes and Cancer: An unholy Trinity” at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.

It was part of series of lectures to mark the hospital’s 60th anniversary.

Dr Ojesina, who remarked that cancers result from a breakdown in signalling sent to cause cells to grow, said that germs such as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is associated with tumors of the cervix, head and neck just as some liver cancers are linked by hepatitis virus.

According to the expert, “HPV-related cancers remain a huge problem in Nigeria, and so HPV and cervical tumor screening is important.

15% of cancers are infection-related — Expert (DETAILS)

“HPV vaccinations should also be prioritised, because if we can prevent its infection, there is likelihood of preventing cervical cancer in particular.”

The expert stated also that incidence of some cancers were also higher in those infected with the virus that cause AIDS, adding that work was ongoing to better understand and treat cancers all over the world.

“This is the basis of precision medicine. We now have a better understanding of the pathway involved in cancer. People are thinking of new ways to treat tumor where you identify mutations that are occurring to target them specifically.

“These treatments are currently very expensive, but we are beginning to see signs of its use even here in Nigeria, particularly for some blood cancers.

UCH’s Chief Medical Director, Professor Temitope Alonge, speaking through the hospital’s Chairman, Medical Advisor Committee, Dr Victor Akinmoladun, described cancer, mutations and microbes as an unholy trinity, a challenge both to humanity and researchers all over the world.

“Certainly, people will like to understand better this unholy trinity and how best to avoid cancer,” he declared.

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