Psoriasis Awareness Month: Can Psoriasis Increase Your Cancer Risk?

One question tends to come up for doctors studying psoriasis and the people who have this condition – does psoriatic disease increase your chance of developing cancer? It’s an ongoing topic of research, and scientists continue to gather more information on its risk factors and incidence rates. A recent study, however, reveals that this autoimmune problem can escalate into certain tumors.

If you have psoriasis, there are steps you can take to reduce your likelihood of getting cancer. Read on to learn more about their relationship and plan an appropriate course of action.

What Is Psoriasis? 

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder. Normally, your immune system reacts when there are harmful pathogens in your body. It recognizes your cells and will try to get rid of anything unfamiliar to protect you from illness and infection.

If you have psoriasis, your immune system overreacts and responds to a nonexistent danger. This causes a rapid growth of skin cells that appear beneath the skin’s surface. New skin cells are supposed to replace dead skin cells every few weeks. In psoriasis patients, this process is shortened to every few days. This leads to thickened patches of dead skin on the surface.

Association With Cancer

Unlike the well-established relationship between lung cancer and smoking, the connection between cancer and psoriasis still a little ambiguous. The link appears to revolve around inflammation. If you are suffering from psoriasis, you experience inflammation of the organs, skin, joints, and blood vessels. This can result in chronic inflammation, which is a known cancer risk factor.

Research reports that people with psoriasis have a higher chance of developing cancer. In one review of 37 articles and studies, it was found out that psoriasis might result in cancers of the liver, digestive/upper respiratory tract, pancreas, respiratory tract, and pancreas. The paper also indicates that patients with this autoimmune condition have a slightly greater risk of acquiring leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

In a separate study, scientists noted that cancer rates were much higher among individuals with psoriasis. It shows that they were more likely to have lymphoma cancers, on-melanoma skin cancers, and cancers of the pharynx, lung, colon, kidney, and oral cavity.

Impact Of Taking Psoriasis Medication

Certain psoriasis treatments involve drugs that help slow down the production process of new skin cells. There are also various psoriasis medications that suppress the body’s immune system to reduce symptoms.

Researchers have explored whether biologics, treatments made from living organisms, can put patients with weakened immune systems at more risk for cancer. A review of eight studies published in the British Journal of Dermatology concludes that the two are unrelated. Meanwhile, another report suggests that ultraviolet light therapy for healing psoriasis patches may cause squamous cell carcinoma, especially for those who have had at least 250 sessions.

How to Control Your Risk Of Cancer

Keep in mind that the overall risk of cancer is still low for psoriasis patients. Talk to your primary care doctor about the steps you can take to prevent cancer. Dr. Jashin Wu of the National Psoriasis Foundation recommends having age-appropriate cancer screenings, particularly those involving skin cancer.

In addition, we at the New Hope Medical Center can provide you with information resources, emotional support, and the most comprehensive cancer treatments available for your condition. We personalize our programs to each patient, providing them with a caring environment and focusing on their individual needs. Call us today at 480-757-6573 to start improving your quality of life.

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