MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Xifeng Wu MD PhD
Prevention and Population Sciences
MD Anderson Center
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Previous studies have shown that certain chronic diseases may predispose to cancer. These studies generally assessed chronic diseases or disease markers individually. As chronic diseases are typically clustered, it is necessary to study them simultaneously to elucidate their independent and joint impact on cancer risk. Therefore, we investigated the independent and joint effect of several common chronic diseases or disease markers on cancer and life span in a large prospective cohort. Also, we compared the contribution of chronic diseases or disease markers to cancer risk with that of lifestyle factors. We further assessed whether physical activity could attenuate the cancer risk associated with chronic diseases or disease markers. We hope the results of this study can contribute to evidence-based recommendations for future cancer prevention strategies.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Using the unique data from 405, 878 health screening participants of the prospective MJ Cohort study, we found that cardiovascular disease markers, diabetes, chronic kidney disease markers, pulmonary disease, and gouty arthritis marker were individually associated with risk of incident cancer or cancer death.
Higher chronic disease risk scores based on these diseases or disease markers were linked with an increasing risk of incident cancer and cancer death, with the highest level associated with a more than twofold increase in risk of incident cancer and a fourfold increase in risk of cancer death. High chronic disease risk scores were associated with substantial reduction in life span, and the highest scores were associated with 13.3 years of life lost in men and 15.9 years of life lost in women. Jointly, these diseases or disease markers accounted for more than one fifth of all incident cancers and more than one third of all cancer deaths in our study population, which was comparable to the combined contribution of five major lifestyle risk factors including smoking, insufficient physical activity, insufficient fruit and vegetable intake, alcohol consumption, and obesity. Physical activity was associated with a nearly 40% reduction in the excess risks of incident cancer and cancer death associated with chronic diseases and chronic disease markers.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Chronic diseases have a substantial impact individually and jointly on cancer risk, and the contribution of chronic diseases to cancer risk was equally as important as five major lifestyle cancer risk factors including smoking, insufficient physical activity, insufficient fruit and vegetable intake, alcohol consumption, and obesity. In addition, chronic diseases were associated with substantial reduction in life span. Physical activity is a promising approach to reduce the harmful effects of chronic diseases on cancer development and cancer mortality.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: With confirmation by studies from other regions or countries, we hope to make evidence-based recommendations for future cancer prevention strategies. Also, efforts are needed to disseminate the study findings in clinical practice and to translate them in the treatment of chronic diseases, thereby reducing the global cancer burden.
Disclosures: We do not have any financial or other conflicts of interest to disclose.
Cancer risk associated with chronic diseases and disease markers: prospective cohort study
BMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k134
(Published 31 January 2018)Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k134
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