Pain Med May Affect Breast Cancer Recurrence

WEDNESDAY June 2, 2010 -- The painkiller a woman takes after a mastectomy may influence the odds of breast cancer recurrence, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the Catholic University of Louvain (Leuven) in Belgium looked for links between painkiller use and breast cancer recurrence in 327 women from one to four years after they underwent a mastectomy.

Women who received a powerful prescription painkiller called ketorolac (sold as Toradol and Acular) which is related to aspirin and ibuprofen, were less likely to develop a recurrence of breast cancer. Their rate was 6 percent compared to 17 percent for those who received other drugs for pain.

The link between the drug and lower rate of recurrence remained even after the researchers adjusted for factors such as patient age and stage of cancer.

The study, published in the June issue of the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, adds to a growing body of literature that indicates pain-relieving drugs can affect cancer.

More information

For more about breast cancer treatment, see the National Cancer Institute.

Posted: June 2010


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