Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the risk of cancer before and after the diagnosis of motor neuron disease (MND), multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson's disease (PD). METHODS: Analysis of statistical database of linked statistical abstracts of hospital and mortality data in an area in southern England. RESULTS: Only people with PD showed a significant difference in the overall incidence of cancer compared with controls (rate ratio (RR) 0.76, 95% CIs 0.70 to 0.82 before PD; RR 0.61, 0.53 to 0.70, after PD). RRs were close to 1 for cancer in patients after MND (0.98, 0.75 to 1.26) and after MS (0.96, 0.83 to 1.09). There were high rate ratios for malignant brain cancer (7.4, 2.4 to 17.5) and Hodgkin's lymphoma (5.3, 1.1 to 15.6) in patients diagnosed with MND after cancer. In people with MS, malignant brain cancer also showed an increased RR both before hospital admission with a diagnosis of MS (3.2, 1.1 to 7.6) and after (2.4, 1.2 to 4.5). In people with PD, several specific cancers showed significantly and substantially reduced RRs for cancer, notably smoking related cancers, including lung cancer (0.5, 0.4 to 0.7, before PD; 0.5, 0.4 to 0.8, after PD) but also cancers that are not strongly smoking related, including colon cancer (0.7, 0.6 to 0.9, before PD; 0.5, 0.4 to 0.8, after PD). CONCLUSIONS: People with MND, or MS, do not have an altered risk of cancer overall. There may sometimes be misdiagnosis between MND or MS and brain tumours. PD carries a reduced risk of cancer overall, of some smoking related cancers and of some cancers that are not smoking related.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry

Publication Date





215 - 221


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Female, Humans, Incidence, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged, Motor Neuron Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Neoplasms, Parkinson Disease, Prevalence, Young Adult