Wednesday March 20, 2019

Study Shows that Humans Are Influencing Cancer in Wild Animals

Besides indulging in cancer causing behaviour like smoking, poor diet and low hygiene, human beings are also changing the environment in such a way that it can lead to the deadly disease in many species of wild animals, researchers have warned.

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To study how obesity affects this defense mechanism, the team bred mice that were designed to express a known cancer-inducing mutant protein called Ras.
Representational Image, Pixabay

Besides indulging in cancer-causing behaviour like smoking, poor diet and low hygiene, human beings are also changing the environment in such a way that it can lead to the deadly disease in many species of wild animals, researchers have warned.

“Cancer has been found in all species where scientists have looked for it and human activities are known to strongly influence cancer rate in humans,” said Mathieu Giraudeau, postdoctoral student at the Arizona State University in the US.

“So, this human impact on wild environments might strongly influence the prevalence of cancer in wild populations with additional consequences on ecosystem functioning,” he added.

The study, published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, pointed out many pathways including chemical and physical pollution in our oceans and waterways, accidental release of radiation into the atmosphere from nuclear plants, and the accumulation of microplastics in both land- and water-based environments, that show where human activities are already taking a toll on animals.

In addition, exposure to pesticides and herbicides on farmlands, artificial light pollution, loss of genetic diversity and animals eating human food are also known to cause health problems.

Other than chronic diseases, lifestyle habits like smoking causes cancer too. Pixabay
Other than chronic diseases, lifestyle habits like smoking causes cancer too. Pixabay

“We know that some viruses can cause cancer in humans by changing the environment that they live in — in their case, human cells — to make it more suitable for themselves,” explained Tuul Sepp, postdoctoral student at the varsity.

“Basically, we are doing the same thing. We are changing the environment to be more suitable for ourselves, while these changes are having a negative impact on many species on many different levels, including the probability of developing cancer,” Sepp added.

Even something such as artificial light and light pollution, as well as food meant for humans, are negatively affecting wild animals

Also Read: Lifestyle Habits That Affect Breast Cancer Risk

Ruling that “cancer in wild populations is a completely ignored topic”, the researchers have urgently called for studies on cancer and its causes in wild animal populations.

“We want to highlight the fact that our species can strongly influence the prevalence of cancer in many other species of our planet,” Giraudeau said. (IANS)

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Beware! Sipping Hot Tea Raises Risk of Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer is the sixth most common cancer in India and eighth most globally. It affects more men than women.

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Scalding water irritates the lining of the mouth and throat which can fuel tumours, scientists believe. Pixabay

Love to drink your tea piping hot? Beware, it could raise the risk of esophageal cancer, finds a study.

The study showed that risk of esophageal cancer more than doubled among those who regularly drank tea at 75 degrees Celsius

However, waiting for at least four minutes before drinking a cup of freshly boiled tea can reduce the risk of the cancer arising from the oesophagus — the food pipe that runs between the throat and the stomach.

“Many people enjoy drinking tea, coffee, or other hot beverages. However, according to our report, drinking very hot tea can increase the risk of esophageal cancer, and it is therefore advisable to wait until hot beverages cool down before drinking,” said lead author Farhad Islami of the American Cancer Society.

tea
The study showed that risk of esophageal cancer more than doubled among those who regularly drank tea at 75 degrees Celsius. Pixabay

The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, involved 50,045 individuals aged 40 to 75 years.

Drinking 700 ml per day of tea or more at a higher temperature (60 degrees Celsius or higher) was associated with a 90 per cent higher risk of esophageal cancer, the researchers said.

The results could also be extended to coffee, hot chocolate or other hot beverages.

Esophageal cancer is the sixth most common cancer in India and eighth most globally. It affects more men than women.

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The results could also be extended to coffee, hot chocolate or other hot beverages. pixabay

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In 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had warned of the cancer risk associated with drinks above 65 degrees Celsius.

Scalding water irritates the lining of the mouth and throat which can fuel tumours, scientists believe. (IANS)