An Aspirin a Day may Keep Melanoma Away

Melanoma risk cut 50 percent by taking aspirin daily for five years

(RxWiki News) Taking a low-dose aspirin a day is known to help ward off heart disease. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) protect against colorectal cancer. Now this same therapy may work to keep another serious disease at bay.

A new study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, has found that people who took aspirin once a day for at least five years had a 50 percent reduced risk of developing cutaneous melanoma (CM), the most serious form of skin cancer.

"Ask your doctor if daily aspirin could help cut your melanoma risks."

An international research team recruited 1,000 people, men and women over the age of 40. A total of 400 participants and melanoma and 600 healthy volunteers served as controls were matched according to age and gender.

The case-control study found that continuous use of aspirin for five years or more reduced the risk of CM by nearly half. Taking any form of NSAIDs for five plus years also significantly reduced CM risks.

Researchers also looked at the association between statin drugs and melanoma, but found no risk reduction from the use of these medicines.

Authors wrote that they undertook this research because the incidence and mortality (death rates) of malignant cutaneous melanoma is increasing more rapidly than other common cancers in the United States. And at this point, avoiding sun exposure is the only recommendation for preventing this potentially deady skin cancer.

So aspirin as a chemopreventive agent opens important new opportunities, particularly among people at high risk of developing melanoma.

Additional study of both aspirin and NSAIDs is recommended to further explore their effect on melanoma risks.

Review Date: 
July 7, 2011