BANGALORE: Studies conducted on cancer globally suggests that about 21 per cent of human cancers are linked to infections, Nobel laureate and Director of German Cancer Research Centre Prof Harald Zur Hausen said. Delivering a lecture on ‘Infectious Causes of Human Cancers’ at the Indian Institute of Science (IISC) on Tuesday, he said perinatally vaccinated children have about 70 per cent reduced risk of liver cancer. He also maintained that those who consume red meat are found to be more prone to various types of cancer, especially colorectal (colon) cancer.
“The consumption of red meat increases the risk of getting colorectal cancer by about 20 to 30 per cent. It also increases the risk of breast, ovarian and lungs cancers,” he said.
However, unlike Western countries, Indians are at a low risk of getting colorectal cancer due to lower consumption of red meat, Prof Hausen stated. People in Western countries, particularly in Australia and New Zealand, are facing a high risk of contracting cancer due to high consumption of red meat, he observed.
The Nobel Prize in Medicine 2008 was divided into two halves. One half was awarded to Harald zur Hausen ‘for his discovery of human papilloma viruses causing cervical cancer’ and the other half jointly to Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier ‘for their discovery of human immunodeficiency virus’.