NSAIDs may protect against skin cancer

May 30, 2012

New research suggests aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help protect against skin cancer.

Aarhus, Denmark - New research suggests aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help protect against skin cancer.

The study, conducted by researchers at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, suggests NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen may decrease an individual’s risk of developing certain types of cancer, MedPage Today reports.

Study investigators looked at medical records from northern Denmark from 1991 through 2009. They compared information about patients with basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma or malignant melanoma to information on patients without cancer. Patients who filled more than two prescriptions for NSAIDs had a 15 percent decreased risk for contracting squamous cell carcinoma and a 13 percent decreased risk for malignant melanoma, especially when the drugs were taken for seven or more years or at high doses.

The effects of NSAIDs on basal cell carcinoma were insignificant, although patients who took high doses or used them long-term did see a reduced risk of this type of cancer on areas of the body that typically aren’t exposed to a lot of sun.

“We hope that the potential cancer-protective effect of NSAIDs will inspire more research on skin cancer prevention,” the study authors wrote. “Also, this potential cancer-protective effect should be taken into account when discussing benefits and harms of NSAID use.”

The study was published online in Cancer.

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