Posted on Mar 28, 2013, 6 a.m.
Women who take aspirin are at a reduced risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Previous studies have suggested that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, associate with decreased risk of gastric, colorectal, and breast cancers. Jean Tang, from Stanford University (California, USA), and colleagues studied the use of NSAIDs and melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer. The team assessed data collected from 59,806 postmenopausal Caucasian women, ages 50 to 79 years, enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative. The subjects were surveyed for their use of aspirin and nonaspirin NSAIDs and followed for a median period of 12 years to identify the development of melanomas. The researchers found that women who used aspirin were at 21% lower risk of melanoma, as compared to non-aspirin users. Further, each incremental increase in duration of aspirin use (less than one year of use, 1 to 4 years of use, and five or more years of use) correlated with an 11% lower risk of melanoma. Thus, women who used aspirin for five or more years were at 30% lower melanoma risk, as compared to women who did not take aspirin. Submitting that "aspirin works by reducing inflammation," the study authors conclude that: " Postmenopausal women who used [aspirin] had a significantly lower risk of melanoma, and longer duration of [aspirin] use was associated with greater protection.”
Gamba, Christina A., Swetter, Susan M., Stefanick, Marcia L. Kubo, Jessica Desai, Tang, Jean Y, et al. “Aspirin is associated with lower melanoma risk among postmenopausal Caucasian women.” Cancer, 11 March 2013.