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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 76-82

Risk of cancer in patients with eating disorders: A population-based study

1 Department of Psychiatry, Taichung Hospital, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taichung, Taiwan
2 Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Wan-Fang Hospital and School of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
3 Health Information and Epidemiology Laboratory, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chiayi, Taiwan
4 Department for Traditional Chinese Medicine, Health Information and Epidemiology Laboratory, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chiayi, Taiwan
5 Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Tauyuan; Department of Psychiatry, Chiayi Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chiayi, Taiwan

Correspondence Address:
Vincent Chin-Hung Chen
No. 6, West Section, Jiapu Road, Puzi City, Chiayi County
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/TPSY.TPSY_16_19

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Objectives: Patients with eating disorder (ED) have been associated with some risk factors for cancer, including nutritional deficiency, chaotic life styles, alcohol or tobacco use, dysfunctional immune system, and impaired organ functions. In this study, we intended to study the risk of cancer in ED patients. Methods: During the period of January 1998 to December 2013, 13,755 ED patients were identified from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database. We enrolled 13,276 patients as study cohort, and 53,104 patients that had never been diagnosed with ED as age- and sex-matched comparisons. Participants were monitored for diagnoses of cancer during the follow-up period. We used the Cox proportional hazards model to investigate the risk of cancer between patients with ED and those without ED. Results: Compared with the non-ED controls, the study cohort had significantly higher prevalence of comorbidities, alcohol abuse, tobacco use disorder, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. After adjusting demographic data and comorbidities, there was no significant risk for later occurrence of cancer in ED patients, irrespective of anorexia nervosa (AN) type (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.10, 95% confidence interval [CI], = 0.83 – 1.47, nonsignificant difference) or non-AN type (HR = 0.98, 95% CI = 0.79 – 1.23, nonsignificant difference). Conclusion: There is no established evidence to support the relationship between cancer incidence and ED.

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