Can You 'Catch' Cancer or Obesity from Other People?

Can You ‘Catch’ Cancer or Obesity from Other People?

by Nicoletta Lanese, LiveScience

Noncommunicable diseases cannot pass between people — or can they?

Our ancestors of yore were plagued by recurrent bouts of malaria, deadly tuberculosis infections, constant syphilis outbreaks and bacteria-laced wounds that never healed. But armed with vaccines and antibiotics, modern-day humans can now avoid or be treated for these and many other communicable diseases — illnesses caused by infectious agents that can be transmitted between people or from animals to people. 

Nowadays, most people don’t die from communicable diseases but rather those that cannot be passed on to other people. About 41 million people worldwide die each year from cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease, diabetes or another chronic illness; noncommunicable diseases account for more than 70% of all deaths globally, according to the World Health Organization. 

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