There’s growing medical evidence that taking aspirin can lower your risk for all kinds of cancers. Although aspirin has been linked to lowered risk of skin cancer before, a new study from the journal Cancer provided even more definitive evidence as to its benefits. Just don’t lay off the sunscreen or anything, ok?
The study looked at melanoma in 60,000 Caucasian post-menopausal women. Caucasian women were used because skin cancer is more likely to occur in those with lighter skin. Over a 12 year period, women who took aspirin at least a couple of times a week were found to have a 20% lower risk of developing melanoma. Study author Dr. Jean Tang said:
“We’re really excited aspirin could be used as a potential preventive agent for melanoma. In terms of cancer prevention, a lower melanoma risk by 20 percent is very large and significant.”
The doctor added that those women who took aspirin for 5 or more years had a 30% lower risk. The women in the study were taking regular aspirin, not baby aspirin. Interestingly. the study found that women who took other OTC painkillers like ibuprofen and naproxen did not have a lowered risk of developing skin cancer. The study did account for lifestyle factors, like smoking and sun exposure.
But other medical professionals don’t think this data is quite as significant, since it’s just an “observational” study, not a full clinical trial. This new informaton doesn’t mean that people can forgo sunscreen and start tanning as long as they’re popping a pill every day (aspirin has its own risks, like stomach bleeding). Still, researchers seem to think that taking aspirin could be a good practice for people who are deemed “high risk” for melanoma: that includes people who have already had it, as well as very light-skinned people and people who are prone to sunburns.