Oncotarget released a study proving that a candida-based infection increases the risk of patients developing cancer. This study is groundbreaking because it warns that controlling the spread of candida is necessary to help save lives and help prevent cancer later on. Candida may be a good warning sign of when preventative measures are critical to stop cancer before it develops. A majority of doctors have already noted that recurring yeast infections precede diabetes, AIDS and leukemia.
What is candidiasis?
Most people are familiar with candidiasis by other names such as “yeast infections” or “thrush.” However, the troublesome part of candida overgrowth is how many people suffer from it without realizing it. Candida overgrowth is so common that Julia Koehler from Harvard University showed candida is the primary contributor of fungal infections, responsible for 60 percent of all fungal-based infections in U.S. hospitals and causing the deaths of a third of those after reaching their bloodstream. Plus, in America and Europe, almost 75 percent of all adult women contract vaginal yeast infections at least one time in their lives.This fungal infection comes from more than 15 different kinds of yeasts, of which Candida albicans is the most prevalent. While everyone has some amount of this yeast naturally, its overgrowth and rapid spreading are what lead to infections. Typically candida infections appear in warm, moist areas of the body like the mouth, genitals, esophagus, gastrointestinal tract, liver, respiratory tract and skin. Candida also grows quickly when it reaches the bloodstream, eyes, brain, heart, kidneys and spleen.
Candida infections often show up when:
- the immune system becomes weak
- taking antibiotics, steroids or birth-control pills for a prolonged amount of time
- abusing drugs
- the liver isn’t functioning well
- someone is deficient in nutrients
- a woman is pregnant
Who participated in this study?
A total of eight different doctors and researchers in Taiwan came together to conduct this study. They work at the Zuoying Branch of Kaohsiung Armed Forces General Hospital, the Department of Bioinformatics and Medical Engineering at Asia University, the Graduate Institute of Clinical Medical Science in Taichung, the Department of Radiation Oncology at China Medical University Hospital and the National Management Office for Health Data at the same university.They collected data from 34,829 patients using the database of the National Health Insurance system of Taiwan for this study. They selected the subjects completely at random. To create a control group, they matched each person with candidiasis with a person from Taiwan’s general population who never had the candida-overgrowth infection using the basic data of gender, age and other standard criteria like monthly income, residence location and similar chronic health issues. Some health issues often occur with candidiasis, so researchers compared people with and without candida infections who had these same problems:
- connective tissue disease
- drug dependence
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- chronic renal failure
- coronary artery disease
- chronic liver failure
- HIV infection
- inflammatory bowel disease
The average age of the participants in the study was 40 years old. Each subject was at least 20 years old or older and had received a diagnosis of candida infection from the beginning of the year 2000 through the end of the year 2012. These people mostly had candidiasis of the mouth or urogenital sites, although some had infections in other areas. It’s important to note that none of the people included in the study had ever had cancer before having a candida infection. Using the Registry for Catastrophic Illness Patient Database, researchers followed the progress of patients from their dates of diagnosis until they developed cancer, died or withdrew from the national program due to health improvement up until the end of 2013.For this study, they used 10 times as many woman as men since genital yeast infections are one of the most-common types of candida. Doctors wondered if the cancers developed were specific to the sites of the original candida infections, so they analyzed the subjects further and compared their sites of infections to the sites where cancer appeared later. They found that those with candidiasis of the mouth had a greater risk of developing any kind of cancer, with the exception of lip and pancreatic cancers. By contrast, those with candidiasis of the genitals had a much smaller risk of developing any type of cancer.
What were the results?
Results clearly showed that those with candida infections had a much higher chance of cancer overall. Additionally, those who suffered from candida infections seemed more likely to get cancer in their head, neck, thyroid, pancreas or skin. Specifically, they had higher risks for developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, myeloid leukemia and other oral-cavity cancers. On average, 17 percent more of the subjects who had candida infections got cancer later compared to those who never had candida overgrowth.The study confirms a similar investigation in Denmark linking candida infections with oral cancers. Sometimes cancer-related therapies lead to candida infections as well.
Some exceptional differences to note were that candida patients had:
- three times as many cases of skin cancer
- twice as many cases of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- twice as many cases of thyroid cancer
How long was it before those with candida infections developed cancer?
It appears that each cancer behaved differently, having distinctive onset times. Within one year after their candida infection, people were more likely to get non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Within five years after their candida infection, people were four times more likely to get thyroid cancer. After five years since their candida infections, people were six times more likely to get skin cancer.
How do researchers believe the disease process of candida infections leads to cancer?
While it could occur in several ways, doctors analyzed data from several previous studies as well and saw several points in common. Doctors found that candida produces carcinogens like nitrosamines, often found in subjects with oral cancer. Furthermore, candida overgrowth creates a large-scale inflammatory response in the body. Tumors grow in environments with lots of inflammation and require this kind of environment to thrive.
If you don’t know, here’s a brief history of Oncotarget:
Oncotarget is an expert source of online medical publications, and they specialize in delivering some of the most-exciting research developments in cancer studies and treatments. They also focus on the studies of related fields like general pathology, immunology, physiology, endocrinology and age-related diseases. They chose the word “oncotarget” to represent all the various molecules, disease pathways and other cellular functions commonly found in cancer and other kinds of neuro-degeneration.Oncotarget is one distinctive medical journal in that it’s multidisciplinary and offers free access to the public. They now release weekly, printable issues.Oncotarget is part of Impact Journals LLC, started by Editors in Chief Andrei V. Gudkov and Mikhail V. Blagosklonny. Both of these men are from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. Oncotarget’s original editorial board contains 48 top cancer-research specialists from institutions nationwide, as well as from Europe and the United Kingdom.