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Chronic Disease Major Risk Factor for Cancer, Cancer Mortality

Risk scores summarizing eight diseases, markers tied to cancer risk in dose-response manner

FRIDAY, Feb. 2, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Chronic disease is associated with a substantial proportion of the risk of incident cancer and cancer mortality, according to a study published online Jan. 31 in The BMJ.

Huakang Tu, Ph.D., from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues followed 405,878 participants for an average of 8.7 years in a prospective cohort study. Participants underwent measurement or diagnosis according to standard methods for cardiovascular disease markers, diabetes, chronic kidney disease markers, pulmonary disease, and a gouty arthritis marker.

The researchers found that apart from blood pressure and pulmonary disease, there was a significantly increased risk of incident cancer for the diseases and markers individually, with adjusted hazard ratios varying from 1.07 to 1.44. There was a statistically significant association for all eight diseases and markers with the risk of cancer death, with adjusted hazard ratios varying from 1.12 to 1.7. There was a positive correlation for chronic disease risk scores summarizing the eight diseases and markers with cancer risk in a dose-response manner; the highest scores were correlated with a 2.21-fold increase in cancer incidence and a four-fold increase in cancer mortality. There was a correlation for high chronic disease scores with substantial years of life lost (13.3 and 15.9 years of life lost in men and women, respectively, for the highest scores).

“Chronic disease is an overlooked risk factor for cancer, as important as five major lifestyle factors combined,” the authors write.

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