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According to an article recently published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, patients with Sjögren’s Syndrome have a significantly increased risk of developing various cancers, particularly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Sjögren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disease that affects approximately four million Americans. It affects the glands that produce moisture in the body, causing gradual drying out of the eyes, skin, mouth, and vagina. Organs in the body may also be involved.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) is a cancer that affects immune cells in the body. There are several different types of NHL; each is classified by the specific immune cell involved and by certain properties of the cancerous cells.

Researchers from Sweden recently conducted a clinical study to evaluate the influence of Sjögren’s syndrome on the incidence of cancer. This study, which involved 507 patients who were followed for eight years, took data from three registries in Sweden: the Malmo Primary SS Register, Swedish Cancer Register, and Cause-of Death Register.

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  • Patients with Sjögren’s Syndrome had nearly a 16-fold increase in the risk of NHL over the general public.
  • Patents with Sjögren’s Syndrome had a 42% increased risk of developing cancer compared to the general public.

The researchers concluded that individuals with Sjögren’s Syndrome are at a significantly increased risk of developing cancer, particularly NHL, when compared to the general public. Patients with Sjögren’s Syndrome should discuss their individual cancer risks and possible screening measures with their physician.

Reference: Theander E, Henriksson G, Ljungberg O, et al. Lymphoma and Other Malignancies in Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome: a Cohort Study on Cancer Incidence and Lymphoma Predictors. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 2006; 65:796-803.

Related News:Autoimmune Diseases Linked with Specific Subtypes of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma(1/10/2006)

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