Aspirin May Help Prevent Skin Cancer

MelatoninMarch 11, 2013 – We have all heard of the many benefits of the humble, over the counter aspirin for relieve of simple aches and pains to reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes and even to reduce the risk of colon, breast and liver cancers.   Well a new study shows that we can add yet one more important benefit of this wonder drug.  NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams reported on a new study that shows a regular dose of aspirin may reduce a woman’s changes of developing malignant melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

NBC’s Chief Medical Editor,  Dr. Nancy Snyderman, explains how in  one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers were able to come up with these conclusions. Using questionnaires, they followed some 60,000 Caucasian women ages 50 to 79 for a follow-up period of 12 years from 1993 to 2005.

The women were put into three groups, 1. those who took aspirin only, 2. those who took non-aspirin nsaids like ibuprofen and naproxen, and 3. those who took neither.  Of these women, 548 developed melanoma.

They found that the ‘Aspirin Only’ group was 20% lower than the other groups in developing the disease.  And the longer they took aspirin, the fewer the cases. Researchers took into account, prior skin cancers, sun exposure, sun screen use, skin type and tanning habits.

Dr. Jean Tang of Stanford University School of Medicine said this information is important because melanoma is on the rise and there is no preventative strategies other than sun screen and avoidance.  She said the study showed that women who took aspirin for greater than 5 years  had the greatest protection against melanoma

However hopeful is this new information,  Dr. Snyderman cautions that the use of aspirin is not to be taken likely because of the risk of bleeding and should not be taken as a substitute for basic preventative measures like covering up your skin and using sun screen.

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