Demystifying the Influence of the Microbiome
While it is known that every niche in our bodies has a unique microbiome, the influence of the microbiome on human development, physiology, immunity and nutrition is just now being realized. Research in this rapidly emerging area shows that the microbiome can affect the host immune system positively and negatively, and an imbalance in this delicate invisible ecosystem can lead to disease – including cancer.
In this regard, infectious agents are the third leading cause of cancer, right behind tobacco use and obesity. For example, human papillomavirus, a widespread infectious agent, is known to be associated with various cancers. Furthermore, there are other viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, worms and flukes which have been shown to be associated with cancer as direct contributors or agents that can potentiate the development of cancer.