Epstein Barr Virus and link to cancer

Hi everyone. I’ve just read an article about the link to EPV and cancer. 

Having been diagnosed with secondaries in bones in July 2019 aged 56 and initially in 2009, I’ve spent many hours wondering what I could have done to get breast cancer and why I got it. I have a healthy diet in general, and dont eat a lot of processed foods or cakes and puddings. I drink socially and enjoy the odd glass of wine during the week. I used to exercise regularly and I try to keep it up now but only manage long walks and yoga now and then. 

When i was 16 I developed glandular fever and was really poorly with it and the extreme tiredness lasted for a long time afterwards. I decided to google whether EPV affects immune systems and it appears that it does and the virus lies dormant in the body for life and is linked to cancers. 

I have always had an inkling that when the immune system is weak this is when diseases and cancers start. Stress is one of the main causes for affecting the immune system. I have experienced some very stressful episodes in my life and wonder whether this triggered anything. 

Unfortunately no one knows why we get cancer yet but I wonder whether anyone else had the same thoughts? 

I also get quite angry when I see overweight, heavy drinkers/smokers and unhealthy people who never seem to get ill…! 

Your story could be mine except that I had glandular fever aged 14 and had two terms off school mostly with extreme tiredness, my brother also had it but he had it very badly and was very ill with it but only for a short time. I never knew there could be a link, but it is not like knowing this with hindsight helps at all! But maybe it could help others in the future? I have lobular BC with liver and bone mets de novo diagnosed between Dec 2013- Feb 2014. I’ve always wondered if having mastitis in my left breast while breast feeding could have caused a weakness as it is where the cancer was found.


I still eat healthily and exercise as much as I can, exercise definitely helps mitigate side effects.


I too can’t help but feel rage when I see overweight heavy drinkers and smokers not changing their lifestyles.

Thanks for the article link Paris, that’s really interesting!

I am pretty sure I had glandular fever also as a child, though I barely remember it.

Agree with both of you about feeling rage every time I see someone overweight, smoking, drinking loads of alcohol yet not having any kind of threatening disease etc…this is the one thing that really does get to me no matter how much I try and accept it.

I am also convinced that stress is the largest factor contributing to breakdown of the immune system.  I have been doing my own searching for answers and wondering why I am the first female under 40 in my whole family to develop breast cancer. 

I started looking at childhood illnesses my sisters and I had, when my mum reminded me how I was often the most “poorly” child because I was always so anxious and stressed (and we never knew why I was like this as a child, I simply remember being afraid of everything).  I was born with eczema (recent research has now proved eczema is due to a fault in the immune system T-cells), had regular bouts of severe shingles, always had cold sores, then was diagnosed with hereditary high blood pressure and poly-cystic ovarian syndrome in my 20s. 

I was also told by my Oncologist that my medical records noted that when I was 26, I’d had a mole removed that had tested positive for basal cell carcinoma (but my GP had never told me about it!!!).

I was doing some reading up and randomly came across some research papers which suggested that children who have experienced a lot of stress and trauma before reaching adulthood seem to appear to go on to suffer with serious illnesses later life, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancers.  I was watching a video on a TED talk a few months ago where the researcher identified that stress from a young age significantly damages DNA over a long period of time, which is thought to speed up the ageing process and bring diseases with it.  From what I understand about the biology of cancer cells, DNA replicates itself with errors, and the errors are what leads to tumour growth.  I thought it was interesting.

Anyway, I know I can’t go back and change anything but I’m much more mindful now to stay as stress-free as possible (given that I’m now probably in the most stressful situation in my whole life, that is quite the irony lol!) 

Oh my gosh your story reads like mine…and I’ve just emailed Breast Cancer Now because I’d seen an article linking EPV and cancer too.

I was diagnosed with type 3, grade 3 breast cancer in 2018. I was a fit, healthy, mid distance runner - didn’t smoke or drink. They couldn’t tell me why my cancer occurred. 

In my early teens I had glandular fever, I never recovered properly and was diagnosed with ME. A Doctor had me tested for EPV and it came back positive. 

I’m now sat here wondering if EPV caused my cancer…and if I am carrying the virus could it trigger cancer again. I remain a fit, healthy woman…about to go off and run a marathon in an hours time…but I fear recurrence. 

Did anyone ever get back to you last year? 

Thank you for reading this :heart:


I had glandular fever when I was 15yrs old and it was years before I really felt back to my old self. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer  aged 39 ( I’m now 60) and was the first one in the family. During treatment I became close friends with another lady who I still see, and found out that she too had glandular fever as a teenager. My cancer returned over 6 years ago to bones and 3 years ago to liver. I wonder if the glandular fever was the start.