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Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers
Despite the fact that patients with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to develop various forms of cancer and die from the disease than the general public, some evidence has suggested that they are less likely to receive lab testing for tumors. However, new research indicates that this is not the case.
RA is characterized by high levels of inflammation. This is what causes swelling, pain and the breakdown of joint tissue. Inflammation has also been shown to be a risk factor for several cancers. Therefore, patients with RA should likely be tested frequently.
In the current study, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital examined the medical records of more than 13,000 RA patients and 212,000 healthy individuals. The results showed that both groups were roughly as likely to undergo lab testing for colon, cervical and breast cancer.
"Cancer screenings rates among patients with RA were similar to the general population, which is different than previously published results," said lead researcher Seoyoung C. Kim.
Still, the researchers added that patients with RA and physicians who treat them should be educated about the increased risk of cancer and the importance of testing.
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