HIV-positive people are less likely than HIV-negative individuals to receive treatment for a variety of cancers, Reuters Health reports. Publishing their findings in the journal Cancer, researchers analyzed data from the National Cancer Data Base on 10,265 HIV-positive and 2,219,232 HIV-negative individuals below age 65 who were diagnosed with various common cancers between 2003 and 2011.
The study defined cancer treatment as chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy or any combination thereof.
After accounting for insurance status and other medical conditions, the researchers found that HIV-positive people with cancer were more likely not to receive cancer treatment than HIV-negative people with cancer by the following factors associated with the following cancers: head and neck cancers, 2.62-fold; colorectal, 1.7-fold; lung, 2.46-fold; breast, 2.14-fold; cervix, 2.81-fold; prostate, 2.16-fold; Hodgkin lymphoma, 1.92-fold; and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, 1.82-fold.
Factors that predicted a lack of cancer treatment among HIV-positive individuals varied based on whether they had a solid-tumor cancer or lymphoma. However, among people with HIV, being black and uninsured were each predictors of a lack of treatment for both types of cancer.
The study is limited by the fact that the researchers did not have information about the severity of HIV disease among those living with the virus, which could have affected an individual’s eligibility for cancer treatment. Additionally, they did not have data on the severity of individuals’ other medical conditions or on substance abuse or mental health factors, which could also have affected cancer treatment likelihood and options in the study.
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To read the study abstract, click here.