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Epilepsy does not increase cancer risk - research

6 July, 2006

New research
suggests that having epilepsy does not increase the risk of having
cancer, reversing earlier studies into a possible link.

Researchers from the Karolinska University Hospital
in Stockholm compared 52,000 people diagnosed with leukaemia, lymphoma,
myeloma, and pancreatic cancer with the general population, looking at
hospital admission discharge records for treatments for epilepsy.

The study, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry,
found no evidence to support the claim that epilepsy increases the risk
of cancer. The study showed that being diagnosed with epilepsy two
years before being diagnosed with cancer was not associated with any
increased risk of any of the types of cancer studied.

Lead researcher Dr Cecilia Adelow commented:

"Although
we have studied the association between a prior diagnosis of epilepsy
and the risk of cancer, our negative findings also suggest that there
is no major increase in risk with long-term use of... antiepileptic
drugs regarding the types of cancer studied."