Who would ever think that aspirin could be so powerful? Most people know that aspirin is very helpful with heart problems but a new study suggests that this pain reliever may act as a preventive measure against melanoma.
According to ABC News on Monday, the study of nearly 60,000 post-menopausal women found those who used aspirin regularly were 21 percent less likely to be diagnosed with the deadliest form of skin cancer.
It gets even better! The study shows that aspirin use for five years or more was linked to a 30 percent reduction in risk.
Keep in mind that the study was isolated to Caucasian women between 50-80 years old. Their definition of regular use means two times per week.
It apparently isn’t out of the question that aspirin may just help prevent cancers of the colon, breasts, lungs and liver as well. Now that would be pretty amazing to think that we've been sitting on a pain reliever that has been used since 400 B.C. that could do all of that now wouldn't it? It's possible.
Josh Zeichner, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, states that aspirin's anti-inflammatory effects might be responsible for the drop in cancer risk. "We just don't yet know enough to make definite conclusions."
ABC News' chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser warns, "It's so important for people to remember that although you can buy aspirin over the counter, it is a real drug with significant side effects. It can increase your risk of having a stomach ulcer or a gastrointestinal bleed."
It is still not crystal clear as to whether aspirin truly prevents skin cancer but you can bet there will be plenty of Caucasian women who are middle-aged and beyond that may just pop a couple of aspirin each week just in case.
So, for now it comes down to common sense. Dr. Besser suggests avoiding the sun between peak hours, using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing.
Above all else, if you notice something on your skin that wasn’t there before and it concerns you, don’t wait to see your doctor. Anyone who has been directly or indirectly affected by cancer can tell you that time is never on your side and catching it early can make all the difference in the world.