Could this common anti-inflammatory provide a new defense against melanoma?
Aspirin is commonly taken in small doses once a day to ward against heart attack. But scientists say this medicine cabinet staple offers a potential additional function: cancer prevention. According to the Women’s Health Initiative study, aspirin’s anti-inflammatory effect seems to help protect women against melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Researchers followed the lifestyle habits of women aged 50 to 79 for an average of 12 years. Analyzing the data from 59,806 Caucasian women in the study, researcher Jean Tang, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University School of Medicine, concluded that women who used aspirin had a 21% lower risk of melanoma relative to non-users. For women who used it for five or more years, that figure grew to a 30% lowered risk.
Tang, who supports a future clinical trial to test for whether the drug should be taken specifically for melanoma prevention, says it is most likely the anti-inflammatory action of aspirin that accounts for this beneficial effect.