People usually take Aspirin for a headache, minor aches and pains or for its heart healthy benefits in staving off the effects of a heart attack. But a new line of research suggests that it may have an even more important benefit for older women.
Research published this week in the journal Cancer followed 60,000 Caucasian women who were between the ages of 50 and 79. They were surveyed on what medications they took on a daily basis.
Researchers followed up with each participant for 12 years and found that women taking aspirin were 21 percent less likely to have had melanoma compared to the women that didn't take the medication.
The effect was not seen in participants who used other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Tylenol.
Researchers raised caution that they still needed to perform more conclusive testing and figure out more about the causative link.
"Aspirin works by reducing inflammation and this may be why using aspirin may lower your risk of developing melanoma," said Dr. Jean Tang of the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto who spearheaded the study.
When the data was broken down it showed that there was a dose duration dependence. Women who had taken aspirin for longer time periods had less rates of melanoma than those that had taken it for less time. When the medication was used for different increments (less than one year, one year to four years and five or more years) researchers saw an 11 percent lower risk of the cancer.
The results were more dramatic when the medication was taken for extended periods of time. Women who took aspirin for more than five years had a 30 percent lower risk of melanoma compared to study participants who weren't taking the anti-inflammatory.
Melanoma is an easily treatable type of cancer if it is caught early. Doctors recommend that everyone see a dermatologist to perform "spot checks" to determine if normal moles or birth marks are actually cancerous or may become so in the future.
To check if spots you may have are irregular, specialists remind you to perform the ABC test to determine if the area may be cancerous.
A -- Asymmetry -- If it is asymmetrical and not round
B -- Boarder -- If there are uneven edges
C -- Color -- If there is more than one shade
D -- Diameter -- If it is larger than 6mm
E -- Elevation -- if it is raised
The report published in the journal Cancer can be found here.
Published by Medicaldaily.com