French Scientists Note Change in Rates of Some Cancers Unrelated to AIDS

September 9, 2014

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Reducing the Risks of Specific Cancers

Although ART cannot eliminate a person's risk for developing the cancers mentioned in this report, maintaining a CD4+ cell count of at least 500 cells/mm3 generally reduces the risk for cancer. If after several years your CD4+ count does not rise above this level, speak to your doctor about possible causes. To help preserve your immune system, it is important to begin ART shortly after a diagnosis of HIV.

Anal cancer is caused by infection with strains of human papilloma virus (HPV). There are two vaccines that help protect against HPV -- Cervarix and Gardasil. The latter also provides protection against genital warts. Speak to your doctor about the possibility of getting vaccinated against HPV and also for a referral to an anal cancer screening program in your region. Using condoms when you have sex can also help reduce your risk of being exposed to HPV (and other germs).

Infection with HBV and/or HCV can cause liver cancer. Speak to your doctor about getting screened for these infections. Treatment for HBV is available and if you are not infected, so is a vaccine. Treatment for HCV is available and becoming safer, shorter and easier to tolerate. Correct and consistent use of condoms can help to reduce the risk of getting HCV during anal intercourse. There is no vaccine for HCV.

Smoking tobacco increases the risk for not only lung cancer but also other cancers. If you smoke, speak to your doctor, nurse and pharmacist about getting support for quitting smoking.

Hodgkin's lymphoma appears to be caused by infection with a common member of the herpes virus family, called Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). At this time there is no proven way to lower the risk for Hodgkin's lymphoma.


Healthier Living

In observational studies, some of the interventions listed below have in some cases, been associated with a reduced risk for cancer and/or can help people lead healthier lives:

  • Maintain a healthy weight -- If you are over- or under-weight, speak to your doctor.
  • Exercise several times each week -- Talk to your doctor about what kind and intensity of exercise is right for you.
  • Reduce the negative effects of stress -- For some people, exercise can help; for others, additional practices, such as yoga, meditation, Tai Chi and mindfulness exercises, may be useful. Counselling can also help people cope with and find ways to deal with stress. Speak to your doctor about your mental health needs.
  • Eat a diet rich in fibre, colourful fruit and vegetables.
  • Cut down on your exposure to alcohol and other substances and seek addiction support if needed -- If you are addicted to alcohol or other substances, ask your doctor and nurse for help dealing with it. Addiction can degrade a person's health.
  • Avoid sharing equipment for substance use -- Substance use exposes people to unhealthy chemicals and by sharing equipment, increases the risk of exposure to viruses that can cause serious illness and cancer.


A Practical Guide to Nutrition -- CATIE's guide to healthy eating, vitamins and supplements, and managing symptoms and side effects through nutrition

HIV and emotional wellness -- CATIE's guide to how people with HIV can cultivate their emotional well-being

Mindfulness-based therapy found helpful for stress and the immune system -- CATIE News

CATIE's Hepatitis C information


  1. Hleyhel M. Risk of non-AIDS-defining cancers among HIV-1-infected individuals in France between 1997 and 2009: results from a French cohort. AIDS. 2014 Sept 10;28:2109-18.
  2. May MT, Gompels M, Delpech V, et al. Impact on life expectancy of HIV-1 positive individuals of CD4+ cell count and viral load response to antiretroviral therapy. AIDS. 2014 May 15;28(8):1193-202.
  3. Montaner JS, Lima VD, Harrigan PR, et al. Expansion of HAART coverage is associated with sustained decreases in HIV/AIDS morbidity, mortality and HIV transmission: the "HIV Treatment as Prevention" experience in a Canadian setting. PLoS One. 2014 Feb 12;9(2):e87872.
  4. Smith CJ, Ryom L, Weber R, et al. Trends in underlying causes of death in people with HIV from 1999 to 2011 (D:A:D): a multicohort collaboration. Lancet. 2014 Jul 19;384(9939):241-8.
  5. Hjartåker A, Knudsen MD, Tretli S, et al. Consumption of berries, fruits and vegetables and mortality among 10,000 Norwegian men followed for four decades. European Journal of Nutrition. 2014; in press.
  6. Leenders M, Boshuizen HC, Ferrari P, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and cause-specific mortality in the EPIC study. European Journal of Epidemiology. 2014; in press.
  7. Büchner FL, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Ros MM, et al. Variety in fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of lung cancer in the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. 2010 Sep;19(9):2278-86.
  8. Etemadi A, O'Doherty MG, Freedman ND, et al. A prospective cohort study of body size and risk of head and neck cancers in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. 2014; in press.
  9. Stagl JM, Antoni MH, Lechner SC, et al. Randomized controlled trial of cognitive behavioral stress management in breast cancer: a brief report of effects on 5-year depressive symptoms. Health Psychology. 2014; in press.
  10. Chao C, Jacobson LP, Tashkin D, et al. Recreational amphetamine use and risk of HIV-related non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Cancer Causes and Control. 2009 Jul;20(5):509-16.
  11. Masiá M, Robledano C, Ortiz de la Tabla V, et al. Coinfection with human herpesvirus 8 is associated with persistent inflammation and immune activation in virologically suppressed HIV-infected patients. PLoS One. 2014 Aug 18;9(8):e105442.
  12.  Roerecke M, Rehm J. Cause-specific mortality risk in alcohol use disorder treatment patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Epidemiology. 2014 Jun;43(3):906-19.
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This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. It is a part of the publication CATIE News. Visit CATIE's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.

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