(HealthDay News) — Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients have an elevated cancer risk compared with non-MS controls, according to a study presented at the 5th Congress of the European Academy of Neurology, held from June 29 to July 2 in Oslo, Norway.

Nina Grytten, Ph.D., from Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, and colleagues compared cancer risk among 6,883 MS patients, 8,918 siblings without MS, and 37,919 participants without MS (controls).

According to the abstract filed ahead of the study presentation, increased overall cancer risk was observed among MS patients versus non-MS controls during more than 50 years of follow-up (hazard ratio [HR], 1.12; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.04 to 1.21), especially in respiratory, urinary, and central nervous system organs (HRs, 1.64 [95 percent CI, 1.25 to 2.17], 1.50 [95 percent CI, 1.11 to 2.02], and 1.51 [95 percent CI, 1.10 to 2.06], respectively). However, compared with their siblings, MS patients did not have an increased cancer risk (HR, 0.92; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.83 to 1.03). This finding was due to an elevated hematological cancer risk in non-MS siblings compared with patients and non-MS controls (HRs, 1.82 [95 percent CI, 1.22 to 2.73] and 1.78 [95 percent CI, 1.41 to 2.25], respectively).

“This research outlines the need for greater awareness of cancer risk among MS patients, which should lead to shortened cancer diagnosis and more effective therapy in order to improve outcomes and survival,” Grytten said in a statement.

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