New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) While the impact of rheumatoid arthritis on joint health is well documented, recent research has shed light on a possible link between rheumatoid arthritis and cancer, adding a new dimension to the understanding of the complex disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that primarily affects the joints, causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and possible deformities over time.
It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues, mainly targeting the synovium, the lining of the joints. This chronic inflammation causes joint damage and, if left untreated, can lead to disability.
Studies have shown that people with rheumatoid arthritis may have a slightly higher risk of certain types of cancer compared to the general population.
“Although the exact reasons for this association are not fully understood, there are several factors, chronic inflammation, immune dysfunction, common risk factors such as smoking, obesity and genetic predisposition,” said Dr Vijay Ramanan, Senior Consultant Clinical Haematologist, Bone Marrow and Stem. Cell Transplantation, Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune told IANS.
Cancer types associated with rheumatoid arthritis include lymphoma, especially non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lung cancer, and skin cancer.
According to a recent study published in The Lancet Regional Health, compared to the general population, treated rheumatoid arthritis patients had an increased risk of cancer from all cancers and from some specific sites, except for breast, pancreatic, and endometrium, which were less frequent than in others. the general population.
Dr Ramanan said that while the risk is relatively modest, proactive measures can help mitigate it.
He suggested regular screening tests such as mammograms, Pap smears, colonoscopies and skin exams to detect cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly and avoiding tobacco use, can also help reduce the risk of cancer and improve overall well-being.