Several common chronic diseases including hypertension, heart disease and diabetes, together account for more than a fifth of new cancer cases and more than a third of cancer deaths finds a study. Chronic diseases were responsible for 71 per cent 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 found that cardiovascular disease markers, diabetes, chronic kidney disease markers, pulmonary disease, and gouty arthritis marker were individually associated with risk of developing cancer or cancer death. 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.
They also found that physical activity was associated with a nearly 40 per cent 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.
According to the study, published in the journal BJM, chronic diseases are not targetted in the current cancer prevention strategies. 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.
For the study, the team included 405,878 men and women with no history of cancer. They investigated the combined effect of eight common chronic diseases or disease markers on cancer risk compared with lifestyle factors.