Patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are at a greater risk of developing certain cancers - breast, bladder, and colorectal cancer. This notion was challenged by a research study which states that MS patients may not be at a greater risk for breast and colorectal cancer, published in the online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
"This is good news for people with MS because earlier studies have shown a link between MS and breast and colorectal cancers", said study author Ruth Ann Marrie, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the protective covering of its nerves. This produces a lack of communication (signal) between the nerve and brain, leading to a wide range of symptoms.
The study enrolled health records of 53,984 people with MS and 266,920 people without MS in Canada. 5 Non-MS patients were compared to each MS patient (5:1). Factors like sex, education, and socioeconomic status were considered and it was demonstrated that there was no difference between the incidence of breast and colorectal cancer in normal Vs MS patients.
Although MS patients did have a higher risk of 72% to develop bladder cancer, the reason being the recurrent urinary tract infections and use of catheters in these patients. "However, more research is needed to confirm our findings", added Marrie.
Lifestyle habits like smoking, diet, physical activity, and specific MS-modifying therapies contributed to the limitation of the study. The study thus attracts more researches for the development of cancer management strategies in multiple sclerosis.