8 Viruses With Links to Cancer

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It’s Important to note that the chance of developing cancer from most of these viruses is extremely rare. Below is an overview of the complete list of viruses.

Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1

Spread by unprotected sex and infected needles. The virus, which causes AIDS, increases the risk of several cancers, including non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin lymphomas, Kaposi sarcoma, and genital cancers.

Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1

A rare virus, can be spread through unprotected sex and infected needles or syringes, and organ transplants. It can increase the risk of rare blood cancer that infects specific white blood cells called CD4.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)

Transmitted primarily through saliva, is known for causing mononucleosis. It can increase the risk of certain lymphomas and nasopharyngeal (the area in the back of the nose near the throat) and stomach cancers.

Kaposi Sarcoma-associated herpes-virus

is often transmitted through saliva and can also be spread through sexual contact, blood and organ transplants. It’s been linked to Kaposi sarcoma, a blood vessel cancer, and two rare lymphomas.

Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV)

is a common virus that lives on the skin and leads to an uncommon skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma.

Hepatitis B

can cause chronic liver infections that increase liver cancer risk. It’s typically spread through blood, bodily fluids, unprotected sex and infected needles.                                                                                                                

Hepatitis C

like hepatitis B, can cause liver inflammation leading to liver cancer. It is spread in the same ways.

Human papilloma viruses (HPVs)

of which are spread through unprotected sexual activity, can increase the risk of cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal and mouth and throat cancers. Women aged between 35 and 65 years should get HPV and Pap tests done to detect the virus and precancerous cells. Smoking can increase risk.