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No Increased Cancer Risk With Herpes Zoster Infection

Last Updated: September 17, 2012.

There is no increased risk of cancer among patients with newly diagnosed herpes zoster infection, according to a study published online Sept. 17 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

MONDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- There is no increased risk of cancer among patients with newly diagnosed herpes zoster infection, according to a study published online Sept. 17 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Yu-Ping Wang M.D., from the Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan, and colleagues identified 35,871 patients with newly diagnosed herpes zoster using data from the from the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan.

The researchers found that there were 895 cancers among patients with herpes zoster. There was no increased risk of cancer noted among patients with herpes zoster (standardized incidence ratio, 0.99). These findings remained even after subgroup analysis.

"We found no overall increased risk of cancer among patients with herpes zoster compared with the general population, regardless of sex, age, or years of follow-up," Wang and colleagues conclude. "These findings suggest that the extensive investigations for occult cancer at the time of diagnosis of herpes zoster or enhanced surveillance for cancer after such a diagnosis is unnecessary."

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