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"Study ties breast cancer to daily ibuprofen use"

Ottawa Citizen

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Published: 31 May 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (2½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

New research suggests that, rather than protecting women from breast cancer, long-term daily use of ibuprofen increases the risk of breast tumours -- particularly tumours that spread.

In the largest study of its kind, to be published tomorrow in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, research that involved nearly 115,000 women found those taking ibuprofen for five or more years had a 51- per-cent increase in the risk of developing breast cancer

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 3 of 7
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Not Applicable
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Applicable
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Applicable

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Research to be published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that use of the anti-inflammatory and analgesic ibuprofen for 5 or more years may increase a person's risk of cancer by 51%. This conclusion is based on an observational study of over 115,000 women studied over a 6 year period.

However, results are presented as relative risks which tends to magnify the possible harm associated with ibuprofen. There is information about absolute risks but it is hard to interpret. The story does not point out the limitations of observational studies. The conclusion that ibuprofen should not be used as prophylaxis for breast cancer is probably prudent advice at this time when the evidence is still inconclusive.

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