The relationship between Helicobacter pylori and stomach cancer is a cause for research in medical science, as the prevalence of this bacterium in humans is high. What if the microorganism were a risk factor for cancer?
Symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea and vomiting can be indicative of gastritis and have different causes. One of them is the presence of bacteria Helicobacter pylori in the digestive tract. THE calculate prevalence studies That More than 70% of infections with this microorganism are asymptomatic.
This bacterium is a headache for researchers, as in addition to gastritis and peptic ulcers, it appears to be somehow related to some type of cancer. Is this bacterium that dangerous? In this space we give you the answers.
Helicobacter pylori bacteria
THE Helicobacter pylori It is a gram-negative bacterium in the shape of a helical rod. It lives in the human gastric epithelium, i.e. inside the stomach.
It measures about three microns and has four to six flagella, which allow it to move around the environment with great freedom. It is microarophilic, therefore it needs oxygen for its survival, even if at low concentrations.
Every human population has characteristic strains of H pylori. This allowed scientists to estimate the migratory patterns of man in antiquity, which explains the importance of the microorganism and its presence since time immemorial.
How is it transmitted and spread?
This bacterium has been isolated in fecal and oral samples from infected patients, so it is suggested that the most common method of transmission is through kissing or oral contact. It is a microorganism that we acquired at an early age, due to its wide geographical distribution.
In some areas of the world, the fecal-oral route is the preferred route for the spread of bacteria. The consumption of water that is infected or contaminated with residual waste presupposes a entry way simple.
What is the relationship of Helicobacter pylori to cancer?
In addition to generating gastritis and ulcers, this microorganism appears to be related to mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma (MALT).a type of Gastric adenocarcinoma. The symptoms of him are general, such as weight loss, anemia, malaise and abdominal pain.
An infection for long periods of this bacterium seems to be positively correlated with the presence of gastric adenocarcinomas. A study which analyzed 17 populations from 13 countries, showed that there was a six times higher risk of getting gastric cancer in people who had this bacteria than in those who didn’t.
In addition to spatial variation, there is an important temporal component. Inside following out of 1225 Taiwanese patients it was observed that, after 8 years of monitoring, 2.9% of them with Helicobacter pylori developed gastric cancer, while no cases were observed in the uninfected.
Anyway, these trends are not as evident in other areas of the world. For example inside Africaa clear correlation between cancer and the presence of the organism could not be demonstrated.
How did this relationship come about?
Several hypotheses have been proposed that try to explain the exact correlation between H pylori and gastric cancer, but its mechanism of action is not yet fully understood. Possible interactions are as follows:
- This bacterium causes damage to the Gastric mucosa, which results in damage to the epithelial surface of the stomach. DNA is damaged and protective factors such as vitamin C are reduced.
- The damage promotes cell proliferation, as damaged cells must be replaced.
- Bone marrow-derived cells that differentiate into gastric cells in the presence of H. plori they would be the ones most likely to become cancerous. This assumption is called Theory of bone marrow cell migration.
The exposed mechanism is a possible explanation, a hypothesis, but not the definitive one. The interactions between this bacterium and various health problems are still being studied..
Helicobacter pylori and cancer: what to remember?
If it is estimated that two thirds of the world’s population has been infected with this bacterium, we can measure the problem and concern in surveys. More than 70% of infections are asymptomatic, so the risk of cancer from this microorganism can go undetected.
In cases where ulcers and other disorders occur, H pylori it can be removed using antibiotics such as amoxicillin. For this reason, it is important to consult a doctor in case of suspicion, since good prevention is always the best option.
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