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Arthritis drugs linked to 300% increase in cancer risk

A study of more than 125,000 regular users of non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), published this week in the prestigious Archives of Internal Medicine, has shown that taking these drugs increases the risk of kidney cancer by 51 per cent.The US researchers at the Harvard Medical School found that patients who took anti-inflammatory drugs – used to treat conditions such as arthritis – for between 4 and 10 years had a 36 per cent increased risk of developing kidney cancer. But for people taking these drugs for 10 years or more, the risk triples.If you’re taking anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, to ease the debilitating pain of arthritis, then it might seem that you’re in a ‘no win’ situation. Do you stop taking the drugs and suffer excruciating pain – or keep taking them and risk damaging your health in other ways?
Help is at hand with Acupuncture as a recent German study has shown. A study by researchers at Charite University of Medicine in Berlin has found that acupuncture can ease the pain and disability associated with arthritis.The study, published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, looked at 712 patients split into two groups; one group of 357 were given immediate acupuncture treatment and the remaining 355 started treatment three months later. The benefits were measured on the widely used WOMAC osteoarthritis index, which measures the severity of pain, stiffness and joint performance. Traditional arthritis treatments consisting of anti-inflammatory drugs were continued alongside the acupuncture in all cases.All patients scored about 50 on the scale at the beginning of thetreatment. At the three-month stage, the group that had undergone 15 acupuncture sessions scored about 30 — a 36 percent improvement after other factors were considered — while the untreated group’s scores remained around 50. Six months later, the formerly untreated group showed the same level of improvement after a three-month treatment.The scientists maintain the study results evidenced the usefulness of acupuncture, justifying its use as a pain treatment. The German Ministry of Health is now considering a recommendation from a federal committee of doctors and health insurers to include acupuncture in medical coverage, a move partly inspired by the study results.

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