View Full Version : Link Between Blood Cancers and Acetaminophen

05-27-11, 06:17 PM
By Alice Wessendorf on 05/27/2011

As if we didn’t have enough reasons already to cast a wary eye on that acetaminophen bottle in the medicine cabinet, scientists have now just given us one more. And it’s a doozy.

The over-the-counter drug—commonly known as Tylenol here in the United States and paracetamol in Europe—has now been linked with potentially deadly blood cancers.

I should back up and remind you that this is the same drug that’s “hidden in plain sight (http://www.healthiertalk.com/when-over-counter-turns-lethal)” in dozens of common over-the-counter products, resulting in its being a leading cause of liver failure in the U.S.—not to mention spiking your risk of bleeding ulcers and possibly being linked with asthma and eczema (http://www.healthiertalk.com/common-otc-drug-sends-asthma-and-eczema-risks-skyrocketing-2379).
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle followed nearly 65,000 cancer-free older men and women. They were interviewed about their use of painkillers in the last 10 years.

After factoring in things like age and family history of blood cancers, they still found that chronic acetaminophen users had nearly twice the risk of developing a blood cancer. Over a six-year period, 577 people developed a blood-cell cancer and more than 9% of that group used high amounts of acetaminophen. While the numbers are admittedly small, in this case it’s the percentages that help tell the real story. Those who are 50 or older normally have about a 1% risk of developing one of these kinds of cancers in a 10-year period.

But if you’re a regular acetaminophen user…using it at least four times a week for the past four years…that 1% risk jumps by 100% doubling to 2%. And while we can’t say positively that acetaminophen causes cancer, we CAN say that this study reveals that it could double your risk of getting a rare and potentially deadly blood cancer.

I don’t know about you, but that’s more than enough reason to give me pause before reaching for that bottle of Tylenol the next time I have an ache or pain. Besides, when you consider that there are lots of natural alternatives (http://www.healthiertalk.com/root-out-muscle-pain-delicious-alternative-1935) that don’t come with all the side-effect baggage, why even take the risk? To read about dozens of alternative pain relievers try typing “natural pain relief” into the search box in the upper-right-hand corner of this page.

You know, now that I think about it, it’s really ironic that not taking two acetaminophen tablets might be the very thing that allows you to call me…or anyone else…in the morning.