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New findings suggest that chronic inflammation may increase the risk of a relapse of breast cancer and even of dying of the disease.
The new study "provides some of the most persuasive evidence yet that chronic inflammation might increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence," writes Steven Cole, a cancer researcher at the UCLA school of Medicine in an accompanying editorial.
The researchers measured two markers for inflammation: high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid A (SAA). Both of these inflammation markers can be checked with a simple blood test.
They found that patients who had high blood levels of CRP or SAA were about twice as likely to have a relapse of breast cancer as those without and also about twice as likely to die sooner from their cancer.
The research on inflammation as a trigger for cancer is still fairly new, so the researchers cannot say for certain yet whether reducing inflammation will reduce cancer risk. High CRP has been linked to heart disease and stroke however, so getting a CRP test and acting to reduce chronic inflammation through diet and exercise has known health benefits.
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