Does Schizophrenia Give You Cancer?

A study came out in Manitoba following schizophrenics over their lifespan. Among the study’s findings was that schizophrenics were much more likely to die in middle age of cancer than the general population.

So that was strange.  If schizophrenia were to cause cancer, I would expect the death rate to angle up in middle age and continue to be very high in old age.  Being me, I couldn’t leave it alone and had to look up the actual study.

What the study really says is that schizophrenics have a much higher suicide rate, and overall a lower risk of dying of cancer.  In middle age, however, they are more likely than the average population to die of lung cancer.

I don’t have the statistics, but I’m suspicious that more schizophrenics smoke than the average population.  Let me look it up. Yes, there is an association, and it may affect the sensory gateways. (here) Schizophrenic mice do better on nicotine. Don’t ask me what a schizophrenic mouse dreams of. (here)

So no, Schizophrenia does not cause cancer. A tiny shred of good news in a very gloomy condition. Here’s the original abstract.


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