Is breast cancer more common in women with schizophrenia?

Updated: Mar 16, 2018
  • Author: Frances R Frankenburg, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

Women with schizophrenia may have higher rates of breast cancer than women in the general population. In a meta-analysis of more than 125,000 women, this increased risk was significant in studies in which breast cancer occurred before the diagnosis of schizophrenia was excluded. However, the association between schizophrenia and breast cancer incidence was not significant in studies that did not specify the exclusion of breast cancer cases that occurred prior to the diagnosis of schizophrenia. Researchers suggest factors such as obesity, nulliparity, and potentially even increased prolactin levels may raise the risk for breast cancer. It is important to note that significant heterogeneity exists among the included studies, and it is possible that a future study will show a decreased breast cancer risk in women with schizophrenia compared with the general population. [143]


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