Can cancer be contagious?

I am an oncologist. In the ward, I have seen all kinds of joys and sorrows in the world and all kinds of difficulties and helplessness.

On one ward round, I saw an old woman with lung cancer carefully peeling apples and handing them to her little grandson with a loving smile on her face.

The child’s mother, with a nervous face, stopped the apple in an instant and whispered to the child, “Don’t eat, eat too much and be careful of diarrhea.”

The grandmother’s face instantly became ugly.

It turns out that the family thinks that lung cancer is as contagious as tuberculosis, and the family does not allow children to get too close. Since her illness, her little grandson can no longer eat the apples she peeled.

After several rounds, some patients’ families will quietly follow me to the department and secretly ask me: Doctor, is this tumor contagious? Do we have any special attention from what?

Is the tumor contagious or not? The answer I gave was: Of course not!

Is it what who created the illusion that tumors are contagious? There are mainly the following three phenomena.

Phenomenon 1: Family Aggregation

There are several tumors in a family at the same time, and everyone’s first reaction is: tumors can be contagious.

Indeed, I have seen several simultaneous diseases in many families clinically:

In a family, two brothers and aunts suffer from nasopharyngeal carcinoma at the same time. An unfortunate woman suffering from ovarian cancer, her sister is breast cancer and her brother is lymphoma.

The well-known famous actress Angie Jolie, her mother, menstruation, grandmother and great grandmother all died of tumors.

The familial aggregation of tumors will give people the illusion that tumors are infectious. In fact, it is the disaster caused by genetic genes that leads to the familial aggregation of tumors.

Take nasopharyngeal carcinoma as an example. Relevant data show that there are 13 cases of nasopharyngeal carcinoma among 49 people in two generations of Hainan family. Of 244 cases of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in Zhongshan County, Guangdong Province, 25 cases had family history, accounting for 10.4%. Epidemiological surveys in Guangdong, Hong Kong, Hainan and Taiwan show that there are families with high incidence of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

The ethnic specificity and high incidence tendency of nasopharyngeal carcinoma suggest that the incidence of nasopharyngeal carcinoma may be related to blood or heredity.

Phenomenon 2: Regional Aggregation

In addition to familial aggregation, some tumors have regional aggregation, which also gives people the illusion that tumors are infectious.

The high incidence of certain tumors in a certain area is closely related to the diet of local residents. Secondly, it is closely related to the local geographical environment, for example, the local area may lack some trace elements or some trace elements exceed the standard.

For example, in the southern part of Taihang Mountain, which borders Henan, Shanxi and Hebei provinces in our country, about one in every 1,000 people suffers from cancer. This is closely related to the local people’s preference for pickled vegetables and pickled vegetables.

These foods contain carcinogens: nitrite, which induces mutations by alkylating DNA or activating proto-oncogenes to cause canceration. It doesn’t matter if you eat a small amount or not much at a time, but if you get used to it for a long time, it is different.

The results showed that the content of nickel in soil, water and rice in the high incidence area of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in Guangdong was higher than that in other areas. The results showed that the content of nickel in soil, water and rice in the high incidence area of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in Guangdong was higher than that in other areas, and the intake of some trace elements was unbalanced, such as excessive intake of nickel and less intake of selenium, which may also promote the incidence of cancer.

Phenomenon 3: Virus Infectious

Some tumors, we are used to calling them [narrow sense infectious] tumors. In fact, the tumor itself is not infectious, but the related virus is infectious. After infection with the virus, the corresponding tumor incidence rate is higher than that of healthy people.

Hepatitis B-liver cirrhosis-primary liver cancer are the three steps most familiar to everyone in China, which has a high infection rate of hepatitis B.

Papillomavirus and cervical cancer, so it is recommended that patients infected with HPV should check HPV and cancer cells every year.

And EB virus, This is suspected and confirmed nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients must check items, in fact EB virus is also related to lymphoma, gastric adenocarcinoma and lung cancer and many other tumors. The carcinogenic effect of oncovirus is mainly to integrate the virus gene in one’s own body with the host, thus interfering with the control of host cell division, differentiation and growth, leading to malignant transformation of body cells.


The above three common phenomena are the false charges of [infectious] for tumors.

Patients suffering from tumors are sensitive and fragile in their mentality. If they are isolated intentionally or unintentionally by their relatives, the later treatment effect and quality of life will be greatly reduced.

Therefore, it is clear that the tumor is not [infectious], and the relationship between relatives and tumor patients can continue to be [close].