HIV/Aids

23 November 2011

HIV increases cancer risk

A weakened immune system and unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking put HIV-infected patients at increased risk for cancer, according to a new study.

0

A weakened immune system and unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking put HIV-infected patients at increased risk for cancer, according to a new study.

The researchers also said that starting antiretroviral therapy at an earlier stage of HIV infection might reduce cancer risk.

The primary goal of the study, one of the first to compare the risk of cancer in HIV-infected patients, was to determine how much of the increased risk was the result of the disease and how much was due to other risk factors, such as smoking, the researchers said.

The study authors compared the rates of 10 types of cancer that occurred among HIV-infected patients and HIV-free patients from Kaiser Permanente in Northern and Southern California between 1996 and 2008.

Lifestyle habits

Six of the cancers were more common in HIV patients than in HIV-free patients, including Kaposi's sarcoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, melanoma, anal cancer and liver cancer. Lung and oral-cavity cancers were also more common among HIV patients, but most of the risk of those cancers appeared to be associated with lifestyle habits such as smoking.

Prostate cancer was less common in HIV patients than in HIV-free patients.

Further investigation suggested that a weakened immune system was associated with the increased risk of cancer in HIV patients.

"Taken together, we believe our results support cancer-prevention strategies that combine routine prevention activities, such as smoking cessation, with earlier HIV treatment to help maintain a patient's immune system," lead author Michael Silverberg, a research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, said in a Kaiser news release.

The study appears in the current issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about HIV and cancer risk.


(Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

HIV/Aids expert

Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules