Doctors Warn ‘Rare and Unusual’ Cancers Are Killing Alarming Numbers of People

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Doctors Warn ‘Rare and Unusual’ Cancers Are Killing Alarming Numbers of People

Doctors in the US are warning of ‘rare and unusual’ cancers killing alarming numbers of people in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

According to doctors, since 2021, aggressive cancers are appearing in young patients who don’t typically fit the bill for the unusual types of cancer diagnoses they are receiving.

Dailymail.co.uk reports: And they’re coming down with obscure forms of the disease that typically affect seniors* in their 70s and 80s, including hard to pronounce ones like cholangiocarcinoma, a rare and lethal cancer of the bile ducts.

There are other strange things happening, such as patients coming down with multiple cancers at the same time.

The pandemic forced people to isolate and put off preventative care measures that would screen for various types of cancers, out of fear of being infected.

But doctors do not believe this to be the primary driver of advanced, rare cancer cases. Instead, they think Covid itself is to blame.  

Dr Kashyap Patel, a North Carolina oncologist, has seen the phenomenon firsthand.

He saw a patient in his 40s in 2021 who had a rare cancer of the bile ducts, which transport fluid produced by the liver to the small intestine, where it aids in the absorption and digestion of fats.

This type of cancer typically affects people in their 70s and 80s. 

Then, multiple other patients he met with were diagnosed with an array of different cancers, something he said he has never seen in his two decades of practicing medicine. 

One couple he investigated were Bob and Bonnie Krall of Fort Mill, South Carolina, who in a 14 month period were diagnosed with three types of cancer between them despite having no family history of the disease.

Mr Krall was diagnosed with a rare chronic blood and bone marrow cancer, while Mrs Krall had a cancerous mass in her abdomen weighing eight and a half pounds, according to the Washington Post.

Mr Krall later learned that several of his neighbors had the same type of cancer: ‘It’s like a cold. It seems like everyone has it.’

CDC data shows that more people are being told they have cancer now than they were prior to the pandemic. In 2021, 9.8 percent of adults reported having ever been told by a doctor that they had cancer. In 2019, that proportion of adults was 9.5 percent.  

Viruses have been known to accelerate cancer since the 1960s, and researchers contend that a quarter of all cancers worldwide originated with HPV, Epstein-Barr virus, and hepatitis B.

They cannot definitively rule out the Covid vaccines as playing a role, but believe the evidence supporting the virus theory to be much stronger.

Lab tests suggest that coronavirus proteins can reawaken dormant cancer cells and fuel their growth, increasing the odds of being diagnosed with breast, stomach, and blood cancers.

Research into the links between Covid and cancer is relatively new, given the pandemic began only four years ago. 

A 2023 report in the journal Biochimie detailed different means by which the coronavirus the coronavirus can change genes that usually stop tumors from forming and cause widespread inflammation throughout the body. 

This inflammation might lead to the development of cancer cells in various organs, including the lungs, pancreas, and colon.

And a team in Colorado has begun probing the possibility that the coronavirus brings cancer cells to life in mice. 

preprint released in April showed that when mice who had cancer previously but recovered were injected with the coronavirus, cancer cells multiplied and spread in the lungs.

The flu virus was shown to do the same thing. Researchers such as Dr Ashani Weeraratna of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Heath, were not exactly surprised by this finding.

She said that it makes sense that ‘something like influenza or Covid that triggers inflammation could change in the immune microenvironment,’ adding, ‘it’s rare the data are so striking.’

Dr Weeraratna said: ‘Mitigating risk of infection may be of particular importance for cancer patients,’ Weeraratna said.

Based on the study’s findings, measures adopted by vulnerable patients starting in the early days of the pandemic — wearing masks, avoiding crowded places, getting vaccines — become even more important.’

The data shows that cancer incidence is up compared to 2019, the eve of the pandemic. That year, about 1.7 million cancer diagnoses were reported and 599,601 people died of cancer in 2019.

In 2022, an estimated 1.9 million new cancer diagnoses were made with around 609,000 cases proving fatal. 

2023 data has not yet been made available, but projections show those cases and deaths increasing once again. The NIH estimates that nearly two million new cancer cases and nearly 610,000 cancer deaths are projected to occur in the US that year, but tallies are still being conducted.

Dr Patel is now researching the connection himself. Based on data from over 300 patients, his office have logged over 15 patients with multiple cancers, about 35 who had rare cancers, and 15 couples with new cancers since the pandemic began four years ago.

He posited that being infected with the virus more than once has an even greater impact, as did pandemic-related stress by exacerbating whole-body inflammation that could reactivate cancer cells.

Even during the first year of the Covid pandemic up to December 31, 2020 doctors began noticing an uptick in cancer cases.

A 2023 report in the journal Lancet Oncology looked at 2.4 million adults who had been diagnosed with cancer in 2018, 2019, and 2020. New cancer cases fell after the start of the pandemic, but ticked back up at the end of the year.

The odds of being diagnosed with an advanced stage 4 cancer was more than seven percent higher in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Dr Xuesong Han, a top researcher at the American Cancer Society and lead author of the Lancet Oncology study, said that biological mechanisms underpinning the coronavirus could be at play.

He said: ‘I don’t have the data to support this opinion. But it’s an important question to follow up on.’