-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- A weakened immune system
and unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking put HIV-infected
patients at increased risk for cancer, according to a new
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
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
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
Further investigation suggested that a weakened immune system
was associated with the increased risk of cancer in HIV
"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.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about
HIV and cancer risk.
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