Journal scan

Common chronic diseases overlooked as cancer risk

Cancer risks from several common chronic diseases are as important as those from five major lifestyle factors combined, including smoking and obesity, a study shows


Picture: iStock

Several common chronic diseases account for more than a fifth of new cancer cases and more than a third of cancer deaths, according to a study.

The findings show that the cancer risks from common chronic diseases are as important as those from five major lifestyle factors combined, including smoking and obesity.

Researchers based in the US and Taiwan investigated the combined effect of eight common chronic diseases on cancer risk.

The large prospective cohort study involved 405,878 men and women in Taiwan with no history of cancer who completed a questionnaire on their medical history and lifestyle and underwent a series of medical tests between 1996 and 2007.

Developing new strategies

Cardiovascular disease markers, diabetes, chronic kidney disease markers, pulmonary disease and gouty arthritis markers were individually associated with risk of developing cancer or cancer death.

Higher chronic disease risk scores based on these diseases were linked with an increased risk of developing cancer and cancer death, with the highest level associated with a more than twofold increase in risk of developing cancer and a fourfold increase in risk of cancer death.

Researchers found that physical activity was associated with a nearly 40% reduction in the excess risks of cancer and cancer death associated with chronic diseases.

The authors said the findings have important implications for developing new strategies that target chronic diseases.

These results suggest that chronic disease ‘is an overlooked risk factor for cancer’, the researchers said.


Tu H et al (2018) Cancer risk associated with chronic diseases and disease markers: prospective cohort study. BMJ. doi:10.1136/bmj.k134Further information

Further information

 

This article is for subscribers only

Jobs