Generic Aspirin pain medication pills are shown in the pharmacy of the J.W.C.H. safety-net clinic in the center of skid row in downtown Los Angeles, July 30, 2007. (Photo : REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)
According to a report in the journal "Cancer," common painkillers such as aspirins or ibuprofen may be tied to lower risks of skin cancer.
Danish researchers analyzed medical records from northern Denmark over a period of nearly two decades and found that people who regularly took aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) had a significantly lower risk of developing skin cancer over time, regardless of age or gender.
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The researchers gathered data from approximately 13,000 cases of basal cell carcinoma, 2,000 cases of squamous cell carcinoma, and 3,200 cases of malignant melanoma. These cases where then compared to information, including prescription data, from approximately 179,000 patients who did not develop skin cancer. All the cancer cases ranged from 1991 to 2009.
The research found that patients with more than two prescriptions for NSAIDs appeared to have a 15 percent decreased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma and a 13 percent decreased risk of developing malignant melanoma than those with fewer or no prescriptions for the medications. The effect was strongest in patients who took NSAIDs for seven or more years or at least twice a week.
Three other recent studies, published in the Lancet, found that people who take a daily aspirin have as much as a 46% lower risk of colon, lung and prostate cancer compared with people who rarely or never take aspirin. Additionally, these three studies also showed that taking an aspirin was also found to reduce the risk of cancer recurring.
The first study showed that patients taking aspirin lowered their risk of cancer by 25 percent after five years and of dying by 15 percent. After five years, the risk of death dropped to 37 percent lower than in those taking a placebo. The second study included five separate trials that followed patients for an average of 6.5 years and showed that aspirin users lowered their risk of developing metastatic cancer by 36 percent and their risk of colon, lung, or prostate cancer by 46 percent. The final study looked at long-term risk of several cancers and concluded that regular use of aspirin not only reduced the risk, but prevented tumors from spreading.
Aspirins have also been found to prevent heart attacks and strokes in people with a history of heart disease.