Wonder drug: Aspirin can also now reportedly help to protect against skin cancer, as well as cutting the risk of stomach and bowel cancers for regular users
Aspirin could help protect women from skin cancer, a study claims.
Researchers found that the longer the painkiller is taken, the lower the risk of developing melanoma.
The study of data from almost 60,000 women over 12 years found that regular aspirin users were 21 per cent less likely to develop skin cancer than non-users.
But those who had taken it for five or more years were 30 per cent less likely to develop melanoma. Data for men was not part of the study.
Every year, around 13,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with malignant melanoma, and 2,200 die from the disease, which is thought to be caused primarily by intense sunbathing or frequent use of sunbeds.
Aspirin has been dubbed the wonder drug, with a recent study claiming that it cut the risk of stomach and bowel cancers by around 40 per cent in regular users. However, long-term use has been linked with stomach bleeds and ulcers.
The research of women aged between 50 to 79 was published in the Journal of Cancer and formed part of the Women’s Health Initiative – a major US investigation into links between lifestyle and the disease.
Study leader Dr Jean Tang said: ‘Aspirin works by reducing inflammation and this may be why using aspirin may lower your risk of developing melanoma.’
She said other painkillers, such as paracetamol, did not lower melanoma.
Ministers will this year consider whether some patients should be prescribed the drug as a preventative measure.
Aspirin has already been shown to be particularly effective against bowel cancer – one of the most common forms of the disease – particularly if patients have a family history of the illness.
Skin cancer: Every year, 13,000 British people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma, often caused by intense sunbathing or use of sunbeds
It is an established treatment for heart disease patients because it helps prevent the formation of blood clots in the artery which can lead to a heart attack.
For this reason, it is already taken daily by two million UK angina sufferers.
Jessica Harris, of Cancer Research UK, advised caution, however. She said: ‘Aspirin has a range of serious side effects, and at the moment it’s not clear whether the benefits would outweigh the harms, what the right dose might be, or which group of people are most likely to benefit.’
Despite drastic efforts to improve diagnosis and treatment, Britain’s cancer survival rates still lag behind other countries.
Ministers estimated that 11,400 lives could be saved each year if our cancer survival rates matched those elsewhere in Europe.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2291311/Skin-cancer-risk-women-regularly-aspirin.html#ixzz2NFTLdtM2
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