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Aspirin 'can prevent skin cancer'

05 January 2015 09:30

Aspirin can lower the risk of developing skin cancer, researchers say

Aspirin can lower the risk of developing skin cancer, researchers say

New research from Australia suggests that regularly taking anti-inflammatory drugs can help lower the risk of developing skin cancer.

It has long been thought that aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen are linked to lower rates of colon cancer, along with certain other forms, but so far there has been no conclusive evidence that the same applies to skin cancer.

Following a review of all available studies on the issue, experts said regularly taking NSAIDs can help reduce the risk of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) - the most common form of skin cancer - by almost a fifth (18%).

People who took NSAIDs other than aspirin, such as ibuprofen, were found to have a 15% lower risk of developing SCC, the researchers said.

However, the best way to avoid skin cancer is still to use sun screen and avoid too much exposure to the sun - for example during a beach holiday. Those suffering from skin cancer should not be put off from travelling abroad, but may consider taking out special travel insurance before embarking on their trip.

The researchers say the findings, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, are the best evidence so far that NSAIDs help prevent SCC.

But they say it is hard to account for other factors such as people's exposure to the sun or how many NSAIDs they take.

Key facts about skin cancer

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world, with more than 100,000 people diagnosed in the UK each year The most common skin cancers are non-melanoma, which develop in the skin over a long period of time The first sign of non-melanoma skin cancer tends to be the emergence of a lump or patch on the skin that does not heal after a few weeks You can reduce your chances of developing the condition by avoiding overexposure to UV light - including sunbeds and sunlamps