Fewer fevers, more cancers?

Fewer people contract fever-causing diseases than once did, and, of those that do, fewer experience a full-blown fever.  Is an unintended side-effect of this progress an increase in cancer?

According to Uwe Hobohm

There may be prophylactic potential here as well. Epidemiological studies suggest that a personal history that includes several infections with fever sometimes significantly reduces the likelihood a person will develop cancer later […]. One potential explanation is that feverish infections reduce would-be malignant cells. If that’s true, the implications are profound.

Antibiotics must be applied immediately for life-threatening diseases such as lung infection or tuberculosis. But we must ask: Should we apply antibiotics and antipyretics (fever lowering drugs) early and for all minor infections? If we do not, more people will endure unpleasant days in bed. But quick alleviation of discomfort should be weighed carefully against the potential loss of long-term benefit.

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2 Comments

  1. I think there are similar prophylactic effects from the hormonal flux of pregnancy: women who have never been pregnant experience higher rates of breast and ovarian cancer

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