Cancer

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Cancer, or neoplasia, is the uncontrolled growth of cells due to damage to DNA (mutations).

The cause(s) of cancer are complex and often multi-factorial. A leading trigger is chronic inflammation, from UV light, environmental chemicals, etc., accounts for approximately 25% of cancer cases, and viruses, bacteria and parasites contribute to a further 17.8% of the global burden of human cancer[1]. A significant proportion of the remainder is attributed to genetic predisposition. A similar scenario is seen with cattle.

Carcinogenic compounds result in chronic inflammatory conditions where reactive oxygen and nitrogen species are generated from inflammatory and epithelial cells, causing DNA damage that leads to neoplasia.

Neoplastic diseases which have been reported in cattle include:

Tumour Location
Brand keratoma Site of branding
Chondrosarcoma Long bones
Horn cancer Horn
Hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy bone, lungs
Lymphosarcoma Multicentric
Intestinal adenocarcinoma Intestinal
Mesothelioma Pericardial, pleural, peritoneal
Papilloma Dermal papillomatosis, upper GI tract, urinary bladder
Squamous cell carcinoma Eye
Urinary tumours Urinary system




  1. Vennervald BJ, Polman K. (2009) Helminths and malignancy. Parasite Immunol 31(11):686-96