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Mortality Risk Not Elevated in Patients with General Pain

Study found lower risk of cancer death among patients with widespread pain

THURSDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- In contrast to the results of an earlier study, patients with widespread pain do not have an increased risk of death and in fact may have a lower risk of death from certain diseases and cancer, researchers report in the May issue of Rheumatology.

Gary J. Macfarlane, Ph.D., from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and colleagues examined the association between widespread body pain (at four or more sites) and long-term mortality in 7,182 Finnish individuals. Subjects were at least 30 years old in 1979-1980 and were followed-up until 1994.

The researchers found that 20 percent of women and 12 percent of men reported widespread pain. There were 1,647 deaths over the follow-up period. Widespread pain was not associated with an increased risk of death (relative risk, 0.86) and was in fact associated with a reduced risk of death from certain diseases and cancer (RR, 0.64).

"This study of multiple pains has not confirmed a previous observation of an association between the reporting of widespread pain and subsequent increased risk of cancer death," Macfarlane and colleagues conclude.

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