[ RadSafe ] New Study Reports Reduced Overall Cancer Risk in People with MS

Cary Renquist cary.renquist at ezag.com
Tue Apr 21 17:20:15 CDT 2009

The authors noted several factors that might contribute to the reduced
overall risk - although the study was not designed to evaluate these
factors - including as yet unidentified genes associated with MS that
might protect against cancer, healthful lifestyle changes due to the MS
diagnosis, treatment, or that the autoimmune attack launched in MS on
the nervous system might actually serve as a 'tumor defense mechanism. 


Background: Multiple sclerosis occurs when the immune system attacks and
damages the brain and spinal cord. Epidemiologic studies involve the
study of patterns of disease occurrence in people with MS in order to
discover the risk factors for getting MS, and to understand their
lifetime with the disease. Several epidemiologic studies have examined
whether cancer risk is increased in people with MS, with conflicting

The Study: Investigators estimated cancer risk among 20,276 people with
MS and 203,951 controls without MS, as well as among 11,284 fathers and
12,006 mothers of participants with MS, compared with 123,158 fathers
and 129,409 mothers of controls. Participants were identified using
several national registries, including the national Swedish MS Register
and Swedish Cancer Register. Participants' records were reviewed from
1958, when the Cancer Register was established, until diagnosis of
cancer, death, emigration, or December 31, 2005.

Cary Renquist
Radiation Safety Officer
Manager, Health Physics

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