Over an average period of about two-and-one-half years, 34.8% of people with psoriasis were diagnosed with cancer. In contrast, only 23.2% of those without the skin condition developed cancer. That translated to a 56% higher risk of cancer for people with psoriasis, the researchers report.
Some of the treatments used for psoriasis may have increased their risk of skin cancer, says Alan Menter, MD, chair of the psoriasis research unit at Baylor Research Institute in Dallas. But the link to the other cancers can't be explained by therapy, he says.
Psoriasis Linked to Obesity, Depression
The list of medical conditions associated with psoriasis doesn't end there, Menter says.
In addition, studies have shown that people with psoriasis tend to drink and smoke a lot, Menter says. Detrimental behaviors can aggravate some conditions associated with psoriasis, such as heart disease and COPD, he says.
But in the case of the other medical conditions, "we are unsure whether psoriasis causes other diseases or that these other diseases cause psoriasis," Menter says.
The important thing is that people with psoriasis undergo a thorough health evaluation, he says.