Schizophrenia Associated with Higher Risk of Breast Cancer, Meta-Analysis Shows

Schizophrenia Associated with Higher Risk of Breast Cancer, Meta-Analysis Shows
Women with schizophrenia are 30 percent more likely to develop breast cancer, according to a new meta-analysis, but the risk varies significantly from one study to another. The meta-analysis, “Association of Schizophrenia With the Risk of Breast Cancer Incidence,” was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. Patients with schizophrenia tend to lead unhealthier lifestyles, which include smoking, alcohol and substance abuse, obesity, and lack of exercise, all of which are risk factors for cancer. However, whether schizophrenic patients have a higher risk of developing cancer is not fully known. In addition to the effects on lifestyle, some researchers have also hypothesized that genetic factors regulating schizophrenia could also be involved in cancer. But the disorder has also been associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer, malignant melanoma, and prostate cancer. The association between schizophrenia and breast cancer is uncertain. A previous meta-analysis showed an increased risk of breast cancer in schizophrenic patients compared with the general population. However, a subsequent study suggested this might not be the case. One of the issues with conducting a meta-analysis on this topic is the significant variation in results among studies, making it hard to reach a consensus. This variation — termed heterogeneity — between studies is measured using a variable called the I2 statistic, which describes the percentage of variation across studies. It has recently been suggested that the I
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