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The blood thinning property of the common pain killer aspirin has been long known. It's a drug doctors prescribe to dissolve stroke clots.
New research now shows that it has yet another side to it but this one is more preventive in nature than curative.
Research done at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark suggests that not just aspirin but other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) or painkillers such as ibuprofen or naproxen could possibly reduce a person’s chances of getting certain types of skin cancer.
The research which was published in the online medical journal of the American Cancer Society called "Cancer" suggested that the three major types of cancers whose chances were significantly reduced with the intake of NSAIDs were basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma.
The findings thus indicated that skin cancer prevention could be added to the list of benefits of these commonly used analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications. (1)
The anti-cancer properties of NSAIDs are suspected to arise from their ability to stop the activity of what is known as COX enzymes, which play a role in inflammation.
The research analysed medical records that had been filed over a nine-year period of patients with and without skin cancer in the northern Denmark region.
During the study they found:
• 1,974 cases were diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma
• 13,316 cases were diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma
• 3,242 cases were given a diagnosis of malignant melanoma
The prescription data of these skin cancer patients was then compared with the information from 178,655 individuals without skin cancer.
It was noticed that those individuals who filled more than 2 prescriptions for NSAIDs:
• had a 15 percent lower risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma
• had a 13 percent decreased risk of developing malignant melanoma
compared to those who filled two or fewer prescriptions for NSAIDs. The differences in results were even more pronounced when the NSAIDs were taken at a high intensity or for a period of seven years or more.