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Osteoporosis drugs linked to cancer


Long-term users of bone strengthening medications called oral bisphosphonates have nearly double the risk of developing esophageal cancer, a study from Oxford University claims.

The study involved some 80,000 patients and took place over the course of seven years. According to the findings, those patients who were diagnosed with esophageal cancer were 1.93 times as likely to have received at least 10 prescriptions for oral bisphosphonates compared with controls not having cancer, ABC News reports.

While research findings so far suggests these osteoporosis drugs can have an influence on the development of cancer, more studies need to be conducted to in order to find the exact links and causes.

“But the risk, if it does exist, is small in absolute terms and is not something people taking these drugs should worry too much about,” Oxford University epidemiologist Dr. Jane Green told WebMD.

For the moment it is unknown why these drugs could increase the risk of cancer, it however a fact that the medication irritates the throat and esophagus.

Dr. Green, however, maintains the chances of developing cancer when taking the drugs is very small.

“Our findings are part of a wider picture, the BBC quotes her as saying. “Bisphosphonates are being increasingly prescribed to prevent fracture and what is lacking is reliable information on the benefits and risks of their use in the long term.”

Find out more about esophageal cancer, otherwise known as throat cancer. Celebrities who have battled throat cancer include Michael Douglas and George Harrison.

Images: SXC, Wikimedia Commons

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