Smart Woman: An Over-The-Counter Drug that Decreases Risk of Melanoma

Published 03/11 2013 07:52PM

Updated 03/11 2013 07:58PM

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and rates have been increasing in recent years. Now new research shows a common pain reliever may help women reduce their chances of developing it.

Taking aspirin could lower the risk of developing melanoma. A new study in the journal Cancer looked at nearly 60,000 women over the age of 50. Researchers found women who used aspirin had a 21% lower risk of melanoma. Taking the medication for at least 5 years reduced the risk 30%.

"When you reduce inflammation with something like aspirin, that might reduce cancer as well," says Dr. Jashin Wu.

The study also looked at other pain medications such as acetaminophen and found those drugs did not lower a woman's' risk of melanoma. Taking aspirin can cause other health problems, including bleeding. Dermatologist Jashin Wu says more research is needed and urges patients to stick with proven prevention methods like avoiding the sun at peak hours, wearing hats and long sleeves and using sun screen.

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