It is estimated that 15% of all cancers are caused by infectious organisms. The HPV virus causes cancers of the cervix, anus, and the head and neck. Hepatitis B and C viruses can cause cancer of the liver and the bacteria Helicobacter pylori can cause cancer of the stomach.
Recently, it was discovered that there is a relationship between the bacteria fusobacterium nucleatum and cancer of the colon and rectum. F. nucleatum is a germ that invades human tissue and promotes an inflammatory response. It grows in an environment that doesn’t require oxygen for survival.
In humans F. nucleatum is most commonly found in the mouth where it causes infections of the gums. This germ can also cause infections around the heart and has been identified as the offending organism in some cases of acute appendicitis. Up to now F. nucleatum has never been linked with cancer.
The study that implicated this germ as a cause of cancer was published in the journal Genome Research. Cancer tissue from 11 cases of colon cancer was analyzed. For comparison purposes, normal tissue was obtained from the same patient but from an area of the colon without cancer. The colon cancer tissue consistently demonstrated DNA sequences from fusobacterium nucleatum. The normal adjacent tissue did not contain these bacteria.
More than 100 years ago, long before the relationship between germs and cancer was even remotely considered, the health reformer Ellen White wrote, “People are continually eating flesh that is filled with tuberculosis and cancerous germs. Tuberculosis, cancer, and other fatal diseases are thus communicated.” (Ministry of Healing, 313)