According to a presentation at the American Association for Cancer Research's Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, individuals with HIV have a higher risk of cancer unrelated to HIV infection, Newswise reports.

The risk for non-AIDS cancer for women living with HIV was 1.5 times higher compared with those who are not infected with the virus and 2.3 times greater for men with HIV.

Although researchers did not investigate the reasons, they urge clinicians to be aware of the increased risk when seeing patients with HIV.

“In particular, clinicians of HIV-infected people should inquire about well-known modifiable cancer risk factors,” said Meredith Shiels, MHS, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore. “For example, the prevalence of cigarette smoking, which is a cause of many types of cancer, is known to be higher among HIV-infected individuals.”

While a future study may examine the reasons for the increased risk, for now, patients are encouraged to get regular cancer screenings and modify factors such as cigarettes and nutrition that can affect cancer risk.