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Study links scleroderma to cancer

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

Individuals who have scleroderma may want to consider seeking a cancer test, as a new study has found that those who have the autoimmune disease are more likely to develop some of the more common types of cancer.

Scleroderma is a disease of the immune system in which the skin, blood vessels and internal organs can become hardened and scarred.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine examined tissue samples from patients at the Scleroderma Center. They found that 10 percent of these individuals also had cancer.

Ami Shah, who led the investigation, said that understanding the link between the two conditions could help researchers to develop better treatments and for doctors know which patients have the highest risk.

"Our research adds more to the discussion about whether cancer and autoimmune diseases are related and whether cancer may be a trigger for scleroderma," Shah said. "This research is really just the beginning."

Despite the known link between scleroderma and cancer, it is not known whether one condition causes the other or which one comes first, Shah added.

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