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HIV + people should look for any type of cancer?
Jul 21, 2013

I'm an HIV+ 25 year old male taking antiretroviral drugs (Efavirenz + Lamivudine + Tenofovir) since I found it out after an intense hepatitis for citomegalovirosis and an enormous weight loss staring this year, 2013. My HIV count is now undetectable, the hepatitis has gone away after treatment for citomegalovirosis and I regained my usual weight. My CD4 count is increasing greatly, as my doctors told me. It was only 003 on the first test. After 2 months undergoing antiretroviral therapy it went up to 049. In August I'll do a third count test.

But I have been asking me a question: Should HIV+ people undergo clinical exams to look for any potential presence of any type of cancer?

In my family history there are no cases of any type of cancer and I have no symptoms whatsoever that would concern me in this matter. I don't smoke, don't drink alcohol and I eat healthy in about 80% of my meals, to say the least.

Since I was diagnosed as HIV+, everytime and anywhere I listen or overhear people talking about cancer cases I get overwhelmed by uneasy feelings about it... So. Should I undergo clinical exams such as colonoscopy, laringoscopy, CT scan, MRI, x-ray, specific blood test or any other?

Thanks a lot.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

It's a good question. In general, the answer is no, as general screening in the absence of signs or symptoms will usually not yield much, except in certain screening programs for colorectal, breast or cervical cancers where research has clearly indicated the benefit of screening. Given your age and gender, I don't think there is much that needs to be done at this point.



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