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NSAID Painkillers Linked to Risk of Kidney Cancer
Date:9/12/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- The long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Advil, Motrin and Aleve may slightly increase the risk for developing kidney cancer, Harvard researchers report.

Millions of people use these drugs regularly for pain and they have been associated with reducing the risk of some cancers, the researchers added.

"NSAIDs have been associated with a reduced risk of several types of cancer, including colorectal, breast and prostate," said lead researcher Eunyoung Cho, an assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. "Our study raises a contradicting possibility that non-aspirin NSAIDs may elevate the risk of certain types of cancer."

"If our studies are confirmed, risks and benefits should be considered in deciding whether to use analgesics, especially for long duration," she added.

The report was published in the Sept. 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The researchers began the study because there was some epidemiological evidence, mainly from small case-control studies, of a link between the prolonged use of analgesics (pain-relieving medicines) and kidney cancer.

For the study, Cho's team collected data on 77,525 women and 49,403 men who took part in the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Among these individuals, the researchers looked for an association between kidney cancer and the use of different types of pain-relievers.

Specifically, they looked at the incidence of renal cell cancer, which accounts for about 85 percent of all kidney cancers. They also looked for other risk factors for kidney cancer, such as weight, smoking, physical activity and high blood pressure.

Over 16 years of follow-up for the women and 20 years for the men, there were 333 cases of renal cell cancer.

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