Controversy exists over whether sun exposure causes this most deadly form of skin cancer, but as summer approaches, this is good news.
Despite the controversy, approximately 65 percent of melanomas are attributed to ultraviolet (UV) exposure from sunlight or artificial sources such as tanning beds.
Apparently, aspirin’s anti-inflammatory properties help protect against this type of skin cancer. The study is published early in the online version of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.
Results come from the Women's Health Initiative, during which researchers observed American women aged 50 to 79 years for an average of 12 years and noted which individuals developed cancer. At the beginning of the study, the women were asked which medications they took, what they ate, and what activities they performed.
Analyzing the data from nearly 60,000 Caucasian women, researchers found women who took more aspirin were less likely to develop melanoma skin cancer during the 12 years of follow up.
Overall, women who used aspirin had a 21 percent lower risk of melanoma compared to non-users. The longer the women used aspirin, the greater the protection. For example, women who used aspirin for five or more years had a 30 percent lower melanoma risk than women who did not use aspirin.
Acetaminophen, which is not an anti-inflammatory agent, did not lower women's melanoma risk. Curiously, the use of non-aspirin, anti-inflammatory agents, such as non-steriodal anti-inflammatory agents, NSAIDS, did not show a decreased risk in melanoma.
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