What is cancer in bipolar disorder?

Cancer is a broad group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth such that cells divide and grow forming malignant tumours that may spread through the lymphatic system or blood stream. Not all tumours are malignant – some remain benign and do not invade other organs. Lifestyle, genetic factors and environmental pollutants increase a persons’ risk of developing cancer. Cancer can affect people of all ages. The most common cancers include lung cancer (22% of all cancers), bowel cancer (12%), breast cancer (8-23%) and prostate cancer (7%). Cancer may be measured by incidence or mortality rates: incidence refers to how many new cases there are in a population, while mortality refers to the rate of deaths due to cancer in a specific population.

What is the evidence for comorbid cancer?

Moderate to high quality evidence finds a small, significant increased risk of any cancer in people with bipolar disorder compared to people without bipolar disorder. Analysis containing only patients on lithium showed no increased rates of cancer.

October 2021

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Last updated at: 4:51 am, 21st October 2021
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