Long-term use of painkillers triple kidney cancer risk

However, they found that people who used them for over a decade, such as arthritis sufferers, were almost three times more likely to suffer renal cell cancer (RCC), the most common form of kidney cancer, the Daily Mail reported.

Aspirin was the only member among the group of drugs –  known as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) – that was found to be safe. Dr Eunyoung Cho, of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues said: “In these large prospective studies of women and men, we found that use of non-aspirin NSAIDs was associated with an elevated risk of renal cell cancer, especially among those who took them for a long duration.”

Renal cancer accounts for two per cent of all cancers diagnosed in the UK. It is difficult to treat with around one in three surviving the disease. Pain-relieving medications, or analgesics, are among the most commonly used groups of drugs and some appear to have protective effects against cancer, the researchers found.

“However some epidemiologic data, mainly from case-control studies, suggest an association between analgesic use and an increased risk of RCC,” they said.

So, Dr Cho and colleagues analysed data on 77,525 women and 49,403 men whose use of aspirin and other NSAIDs was recorded for up to 20 years during which time 333 developed renal cell cancer.

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