Patients with a blood-related, or hematological, cancer diagnosis were three times more likely to get shingles than other cancer patients, researchers said. Photo by damiangretka/Shutterstock
Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Any cancer diagnosis puts patients at 40 percent higher risk of developing shingles than a person with no cancer, a study says.
New research published Thursday in the Journal of Infectious Diseases showed that patients with a blood-related, or hematological, cancer diagnosis were three times more likely to get shingles.
Researchers from Australia analyzed the risk of shingles in 240,000 adults before and after their cancer diagnoses from 2006 to 2015.
"These findings have important implications in view of recent advances in the development of zoster vaccines," Kosuke Kawai, a researcher at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said in a news release.
Shingles, caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, is a painful skin condition. The virus lays dormant in the human body then appears at some point later in life.
The research found that people who've received a cancer diagnosis, with solid tumors in the lung, breast, prostate or other organs, had a 30 percent higher risk of developing shingles than someone with no cancer.
People with solid tumors mainly developed shingles after receiving chemotherapy, the researchers pointed out, and not simply because they have cancer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, close to one in three people in the U.S. will develop shingles in their lifetime, and an estimated one million cases are diagnosed each year.