Can Lyme Cause Cancer?

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is spread by ticks. It is most common in the eastern United States, but can occur in other areas as well.

Symptoms of Lyme are usually mild and go away with treatment. The first sign of the disease is a bull’s eye rash that typically appears 3 to 30 days after a bite by an infected tick. A person may also develop chills, fever, headache, fatigue and a stiff neck. If the patient is untreated in the early stages, symptoms can get more serious and include muscle and joint pain and swollen glands.

In some cases, a person with Lyme disease may develop long-term, chronic symptoms such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. This is called post-infectious Lyme disease and is often the result of a misdiagnosis.

Many people with Lyme disease are not diagnosed right away because the antibodies that the body makes to fight off the infection can take weeks or months to develop. This means a blood test that is based on antibody testing may not show you have Lyme disease until you’ve had the illness for several years.

Most people with Lyme disease recover fully and can return to their normal lives with antibiotic treatment. However, if you have symptoms that persist or worsen over time, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

PCR tests that look at the presence of bacteria in lymphocytes, which is the body’s immune system, are helpful in diagnosing Lyme disease. These tests can be performed in a doctor’s office or by a lab.

The CDC estimates that 476,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year, but that number is likely much higher. That’s because Lyme is hard to diagnose and is often mistaken for other conditions.

According to the CDC, there is no evidence that Lyme causes cancer in humans. This is because a healthy immune system normally kills mutated cells in the body before they can reproduce and grow.

There is some research that shows that a certain type of inflammatory response to Lyme can lead to the development of certain types of cancer. Researchers think that this inflammatory response is caused by the immune system’s reaction to the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is the cause of Lyme.

Another study that looked at the DNA of mice found that the mice with the most extensive inflammatory responses to Borrelia burgdorferi had more aggressive, malignant brain tumors than the mice with the least aggressive inflammatory responses. They also had the most severe infections of other bacterial organisms in their blood.

In addition to these findings, it is important to remember that not all a person’s immune response to Borrelia burgdorferi leads to a form of cancer. There are other factors that can contribute to the development of a malignant brain tumor including a genetic predisposition, head trauma, metal, chemical and/or emotional toxins in the person’s life.