Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus Increases Risk of Cancer

June 14, 2011

Ophthalmology:  Shingles, especially around the eye, can be very painful and sometimes blinding. It typically occurs in the elderly (who have less robust immune systems) and immunocompromised patients like AIDS or other diseases. This depressed immune system is thought to be the reason why patients with shingles have a 4.8% risk of cancer 1 year following, whereas age-matched controls have a 0.53% risk- a 9.25 fold risk. That is an impressive number. It gives impetus to the branch of cancer study that focuses on the immune system in the fight against cancer.




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2 Responses to “Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus Increases Risk of Cancer”

  • Dr. Ari Weitzner

    well, it’s not meant to be a scare tactic- the authors dont have an agenda. they just are showing data. of course, every patient is different- studies only show averages.

  • Caroline Copper

    I had shingles (herpes zoster) around my right eye eight years ago. I saw a dermatologist immediately upon showing symptoms, and was given an anti-viral, which prevented the disease from ever progressing.

    I have been healthy all of my life with very few illnesses. I also have had C-Reactive Protein tests since I was in my early 50’s. I am now 64 and have had no serious or even mild illnesses.

    I do not feel that I am at an increased risk of cancer. Sorry but this seems a bit like a scare tactic. Shingles is a very common aftermath of having had herpes zoster at a younger age.