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STUDY: Study suggests link to cancer
JOURNAL: The Lancet
AUTHORS: Anthony Swerdlow
ABSTRACT: A new study raises a red flag about human growth hormone (HGH) — a drug approved to help very short children grow that’s becoming popular among athletes who want to bulk up and middle-aged people trying to combat the effects of aging.
COMMENTARY: IN A STUDY published in The Lancet medical journal, researchers from Britain’s Institute of Cancer Research followed more than 1,800 people who received HGH as children. Fifteen to 40 years later, they were significantly more likely to develop, and die of, cancer.
Specifically, there were risks about tenfold for colorectal cancer and Hodgkin’s disease. Swerdlow also found the patients had a threefold increased risk of dying from cancer overall.
The scientists say those who got growth hormone years ago as children need to be followed closely. The data do not show conclusively whether cancer incidence is increased by growth hormone treatment, but they do suggest the need for increased awareness of the possibility of cancer risks, and for surveillance of growth-hormone-treated patients.