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Mystery fever may indicate occult cancer

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AARHUS, Denmark, Sep 28, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- A Danish researcher says fever of unknown origin might be a marker of occult cancer, according to research published online by The Lancet Oncology.

Fever of unknown origin is characterized by a fever of more than 3 weeks duration, temperatures of more than 101 F and a failure to identify the origin of the fever.

Henrik Toft Sorensen, a professor of clinical epidemiology at Aarhus University Hospital in Aarhus, Demark, and colleagues hypothesize that patients with fever of unknown origin might have a higher risk of cancer than the general population.

To test their theory, they assessed 43,205 patients discharged for the first time from Danish hospitals after treatment for fever of unknown origin 1977-98.

They determined that within the first year of follow-up after discharge from a hospital, patients with fever were more than twice as likely to develop cancer. That risk was highest for hematological cancers and sarcomas.

"Heightened diagnostic effort could account for some of the association," the researchers wrote. "However, after several years of follow-up, diagnostic bias should not be a major contributing factor to the number of cancers recorded."


Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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