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Causes and risk factors
Women with schizophrenia are at increased risk of breast cancer
  1. Alison R Yung1,2,
  2. Joseph Firth1,3
  1. 1 Division of Psychology and Mental Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  2. 2 Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK
  3. 3 National Institute of Complementary Medicine, Western Sydney University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Alison R Yung, Division of Psychology and Mental Health, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK; alison.yung{at}manchester.ac.uk

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Commentary on: Chou AIW, Wang Y-C, Lin C-L, et al. Female schizophrenia patients and risk of breast cancer: a population-based cohort study. Schizophrenia Research 2017;188:165–171.

What is already known on this topic

Research into rates of breast cancer in women with schizophrenia shows conflicting results, with reports of increased, decreased and the same risk as the general population. This is despite women with schizophrenia possibly being at increased risk of breast cancer through use of antipsychotic medications, many of which increase prolactin, a hormone involved in cellular differentiation of the mammary glands. This study1 investigated rates of breast cancer in individuals with schizophrenia compared with the general population.

Methods of the study

The authors used large databases of routinely collected health data to compare rates of breast cancer in women with schizophrenia receiving antipsychotics (n=10 727) with rates in women without schizophrenia nor receiving antipsychotic drugs (n=10 727). The groups were matched on the following variables known …

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