Parkinson’s Disease Has Connection With Over 16 Cancers – Does Not Diminish Cancer Threat

Parkinson’s disease has been linked to over 16 different types of cancer in a new Taiwanese study. This study of Parkinson’s disease directly refutes the findings of previous western studies that declared that the presence of Parkinson’s disease in the body actually diminished the risk of getting certain types of cancers.

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system mainly affecting the motor system. Early phases of the disease usually include symptoms that are movement related, including shaking, rigidity, difficulty walking, and slowness of movement. Farther along in the progression of Parkinson’s disease, thinking and behavioral symptoms will arise eventually leading to dementia.

Notable cases of individuals who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and have either gone on to bravely live with the disease or have fallen victim to it include Muhammad Ali, Michael J. Fox, and most recently, comedian Robin Williams who was diagnosed with the disease shortly before committing suicide.

The new study on Parkinson’s disease took place at the National Taiwan University College of Medicine in Taipei looked at the records of the national health database involving more than 186,069 participants between 2004 and 2010. Five percent of the subjects were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

As a result of the Parkinson’s disease study, it was discovered that Parkinson’s disease doesn’t increase the risk of breast, ovarian, or thyroid cancers. However, a connection between Parkinson’s disease and 16 other types of cancer, including melanoma and other skin cancers, gastrointestinal tracts cancers, lung cancers, some hormone-related cancers, urinary tract cancers, lymphoma/leukemia and malignant brain tumors.

Those with Parkinson’s disease at the highest risk for developing the different kinds of cancer were found to be between the ages of 50 and 59.

The lead author of the new study published in the June 18th issue of JAMA Oncology, Pan-Chyr Yank spoke about the new links between Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

“Based on this nationwide study on the association between Parkinson’s disease and cancer risk, we conclude that Parkinson’s disease is a risk factor for most cancer in Taiwan. In our cohort, only breast, ovarian and thyroid cancers show no association sk to different types of cancers with Parkinson’s disease.”

At the moment, there are no concrete findings as to why this latest study in Taiwan directly contradicts so many previous studies done in the west. Researchers admit that much more study needs to be done on Parkinson’s disease and its connection – or lack thereof – to cancer to fully understand the interaction of the two diseases.

[Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images]