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Long-Term Painkiller Use Linked to Kidney Cancer

Study Suggests Increased Risk of Kidney Cancer for Users of Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs

Drug Industry Reaction continued...

"The results of this study reinforce our guidance to consumers that long-term use beyond labeled directions should only be undertaken after consultation with a doctor, who can appropriately evaluate benefits/risks and monitor therapy closely," the CHPA says in a statement provided to WebMD.

For women, the more often they took them during a given month, the higher the risk. There was an 8% increase among women who took them up to four times a month. The increased risk to women who took them more than 15 days per month went up 86%. Dosage data was not available for male participants.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 60,920 new cases of kidney cancer will occur this year and will kill more than 13,000 people. Renal cell cancer, the type that Cho and her team studied, accounts for about 85% of all kidney cancers, which are often treatable if caught early.

While cancer of the kidneys is twice as common in men as it is in women, Cho's study found that both men and women were almost equally likely to develop the disease as a result of taking non-aspirin NSAIDs.

"Because we observed the association in two independent populations, it is unlikely to be a chance finding," the researchers write.

This study points out that previous research has linked non-aspirin NSAIDs with reduced risks of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers, while others have reported NSAIDs in general to be associated with both acute and chronic kidney problems.

Cho says her study's results, while further establishing the link between kidney cancer and non-aspirin NSAIDs, need to be confirmed by additional research and they should not cause anyone to panic.

"The risk is something to keep in mind," she says, "but there need not be a change in practice at this point."

Ryan says there are many things people can do to lower their chances of getting kidney cancer, such as quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and lowering blood pressure.

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