While myositis doesn't cause cancer, physicians have found that a higher than normal percentage of dermatomyositis (DM) and polymyositis (PM) patients also have cancer. TMA's medical advisors suggest that newly diagnosed patients, especially those older than 50, be screened for cancer. When the cancer is successfully treated, the myositis symptoms often disappear. If there is more than a five-year lapse between the two diagnoses, they are not considered to be related.

More data are still required to determine individual cancer risks, although it appears that ovarian and lung cancer are associated with dermatomyositis while lung cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are associated with polymyositis. There is evidence that amyopathic dermatomyositis (DM without the muscle symptoms) also entails a higher-than-normal cancer risk.

pdf Find a presentation of myositis and cancer from TMA's 2011 Annual Patient Conference .

Further reading

Incidence of cancer in polymyositis and dermatomyositis patients

Cancer, inflammatory myopathies in an Asian population

Newly diagnosed dermatomyositis in the elderly as a predictor of cancer

Insights into the cancer-myositis connection

Malignancy, cancer and overlap syndrome



 Updated February 2014




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