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Chronic diseases raise cancer, mortality risk

KATHMANDU — A new study from Taiwan has found that chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes are serious health concerns by themselves, but to make matters worse, they may also raise a person’s risk of cancer.

Chronic diseases were responsible for 71 percent of deaths globally in 2015, primarily from cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and respiratory disease, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015, published in the Lancet.

The study, published in the journal British Medical Journal, found that several common chronic diseases, such as lung disease and diabetes, or markers for those diseases, such as high cholesterol levels as a marker for heart disease, were each linked with an increased risk of developing cancer or dying from cancer.

High chronic disease risk scores were also associated with substantial reduction in lifespan. The highest scores were associated with 13.3 years of life lost in men and 15.9 years of life lost in women.

For the study, the team included 405,878 men and women with no history of cancer.

Over an average follow-up of 8.7 years, the impact on cancer incidence and mortality of diabetes; pulmonary disease; and markers for cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and gouty arthritis shortened lifespan by 13.3 years in men and 15.9 years in women, the authors reported.

They also found that physical activity was associated with a nearly 40 percent reduction in the excess risks of cancer and cancer death associated with chronic diseases and markers.

Besides, chronic diseases, lifestyle factors like smoking, insufficient physical activity, insufficient fruit and vegetable intake, alcohol consumption, also lead to cancer, said the researchers led by Xifeng Wu, Professor at the University of Texas in Houston, US.

Studies have shown that certain chronic diseases may predispose to cancer, but these studies generally assessed chronic diseases or disease markers individually.

Yet chronic diseases tend to be clustered together, so there is a need to understand more about their joint impact on cancer risk, the researchers mentioned.

They investigated the combined effect of eight common chronic diseases or disease markers on cancer risk compared with lifestyle factors.

With IANS Inputs

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