Back in 2013, a 41 year-old Colombian man went to see doctors complaining of fatigue, fever and weight loss, among other symptoms. The doctors knew he had been diagnosed with HIV in years prior and was not taking medication for it.
According to Right Wing News, when doctors took a stool sample from the man, they found evidence of a parasitic infection that included tapeworm eggs. A CT scan revealed tumors in his lungs, but the doctors had no idea at that time that the tumors and the tapeworms were related…
A study published this week by the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that the cells in the cancerous tumors were NOT human. Instead, they were tapeworm cancer cells.
We were amazed when we found this new type of disease – tapeworms growing inside a person essentially getting cancer that spreads to the person, causing tumors,” Dr. Atis Muehlenbachs, staff pathologist in CDC’s Infectious Diseases Pathology Branch and lead author of the study, said in a statement. “We think this type of event is rare. However, this tapeworm is found worldwide and millions of people globally suffer from conditions like HIV that weaken their immune system. So there may be more cases that are unrecognized.”
This is reportedly the first published report of a person “becoming sick from cancer cells that developed in a parasite.”
“We knew invertebrates can grow tumors, but the fact that one can invade and disseminate in a human and make them sick just really, really defied belief,” Muehlenbachs added.
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