Compared to people without RA, those with RA have a 40 percent to 50 percent increased mortality risk (more than two years shorter survival time) if they develop breast or prostate cancer, a new study found. Interestingly, there was no survival difference among those with and without RA for lung cancer. “These findings suggest that the additional cancer mortality risk from having RA is more pronounced for those tumors with longer expected median survival,” the researchers noted in Arthritis Care & Research online.
The article also mentions two studies, conducted in 1996 and 2008, which found that people with RA have an increased risk for developing lung cancer and lymphoma, and a lower risk for developing breast and colon cancer compared to people without RA. For RA patients, the risk of developing these cancers is separate from the risk of dying from them and do not necessarily correlate: for example, RA patients have a lower risk of getting breast cancer, yet if they do develop it, their risk of dying from the disease is higher versus women without RA.