Anorexia and cancer risk
You’d think having anorexia nervosa was bad enough. But among all the negative effects it can have on your body, could it also increase your risk of cancer? Or does the condition perversely mimic the caloric restriction and fasting that have been demonstrated to benefit the prevention of some malignancies – meaning could it protect against cancer?
That’s what European oncology researchers wanted to find out through their systematic review and meta-analysis of a series of studies involving more than 42,000 people with the eating disorder.
The result was both encouraging and intriguing.
It appears that overall there was no association of anorexia nervosa with risk of cancer.
But that’s not the whole story.
On further analysis it appears anorexia nervosa was associated with some cancers and not others. In some cases the condition increased the risk and in others it appeared protective, hence the balancing out effect of no association overall.