Saturday October 19, 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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Being Overweight Before the Age of 40 Can Increase Risk of Cancer in Adults

"The risk increased by 64 per cent for male participants and 48 per cent for females," Bjorge added

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

Researchers have found that being overweight before the age of 40 could increase the risk of various cancers in adults.

“Obesity is an established risk factor for several cancers. In this study, we have focused on the degree, timing and duration of overweight and obesity in relation to cancer risk,” said study author Tone Bjorge, Professor at University of Bergen in Norway.

For the findings, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the research team wanted to find out how adult overweight (BMI over 25) and obesity (BMI over 30) increase the risk of different types of cancer.

The researchers used data for 2,20,000 individuals from the Me-Can study, with participants from Norway, Sweden and Austria.

Data from health examinations, including information on height and weight, were linked to data from national cancer registries.

Obesity
An overweight woman sits on a chair in Times Square in New York, May 8, 2012. VOA

According to the researchers, 27,881 individuals were diagnosed with cancer during follow-up, of which 9,761 (35 per cent) were obesity-related.

The study showed that if you were overweight before age 40, the risk of developing cancer increases by: 70 per cent for endometrial cancer, 58 per cent for male renal-cell cancer, 29 per cent for male colon cancer and 15 per cent for all obesity-related cancers (both sexes).

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Obese participants (BMI over 30) at the first and second health examination had the highest risk of developing obesity-related cancer, compared to participants with normal BMI.

“The risk increased by 64 per cent for male participants and 48 per cent for females,” Bjorge added. (IANS)