Does Acetaminophen (aka ‘Tylenol’) Increase Cancer Risks?

What if I could show you evidence that strongly suggests that frequent acetaminophen use appears to be associated with substantial increases in the risk of cancer occurence?

Well, I can – and the journal articles that the information is in were published in world class publications and written by world class investigators from world class institutions who were documenting the results of world class investigations.

Unfortunately, the investigations were looking for reductions in cancer rates as a result of aspirin and NSAID use.

While the correlation between aspirin and reductions in cancer risk was clearly demonstrated in the two studies that I’ve most recently reviewed, it is a fact that the correlation between acetaminophen use and increased cancer risk was just as clearly demonstrated.

However, this correlation was either ignored or downplayed and rationalized away by the authors.

I don’t find this particularly unusual. By now everyone knows that aspirin (and sometimes NSAIDs) are strongly associated with serious reductions in cancer occurences and progression. In fact, this information has become so well known within the academic communities that it is now starting to spill over into the awareness of the general public. It is the norm for there to be an avalanche of data supporting discoveries like this once the fundamental claim has become accepted by the mainstream scientific community and researchers.

As Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) is said to have prophetically written – ‘All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed; second, it is violently opposed; and third, it is accepted as self-evident.’

Along those lines, it simply isn’t acetaminophen’s turn to be reported on. But it will be. Correlations as strong as the ones shown in these two reports simply cannot be ignored forever.

I have seen similar information in other publications, but – like most – I have been so focused on reading the data that supports the publication’s research focus that I totally missed the acetaminophen correlation. But the studies I just reviewed were done so well and had been statistically analyzed so intensely that I just couldn’t ignore the point that acetaminophen and cancer occurence was strongly correlated for the studied conditions.

I encourage you to check this info out for yourself.

The first article is titled ‘Aspirin and the Risk of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in a Population-Based Case-Control Study’ and its reference information is Chang ET, Zheng T, Weir EG, Borowitz M, Mann RB, Spiegelman D and Mueller NE. Aspirin and the Risk of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in a Population-Based Case-Control Study. Journal of the National Cancer Institute February 18, 2004 Vol 96, N0 4, pp 305-315. You can get a free copy of it at http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/96/4/305.full .

You can find a free copy of the second article at http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/291/20/2433 . It’s titled ‘Association of Frequency and Duration of Aspirin Use and Hormone Receptor Status With Breast Cancer Risk’. It’s reference is Terry MB, Gammon MD, Zhang FF, et. al. Association of Frequency and Duration of Aspirin Use and Hormone Receptor Status With Breast Cancer Risk. JAMA, 2004;291(20);2433-2440.

Although I don’t use acetaminophen, I intend to make sure my kids know about these studies and their findings… Hopefully they’ll limit their acetaminophen intake.

Oh yeah, in case you’re wondering… both studies noted above found strong correlations between daily aspirin intake and reductions in cancer occurence. Imagine that.

Remember – you must talk to your physician before starting any new medication regimen. Pharmacists Pharmacist – Doctors Doctor, as it should be.

3 thoughts on “Does Acetaminophen (aka ‘Tylenol’) Increase Cancer Risks?

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