Aspirin Prevents Skin Cancer

According to some experts, just one tablet of aspirin a day may protect you from skin cancer.

Pills and a glass of water

Danish researchers claim that the people, who take aspirin in tablets or similar painkillers on a regular basis, reduce the risk of skin cancer, including the most dangerous form of the disease, malignant melanoma, by about 15%. Their results were published in the Cancer journal.

The study, which lasted for eight years, was attended by about 200,000 Danes. Approximately 18,000 were diagnosed with one of the three types of skin cancer – basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or malignant melanoma. By studying the lifestyle of the participants of the experiment, Danish scientists have calculated how many non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, these people have taken and what additional effect the drugs have exerted. Not all the participants were taking aspirin or other medicine for the sake of prevention; some of them were prescribed it as a maintenance therapy to treat heart disease or arthritis. It was found that those who took NSAIDs more often and at higher doses reduced the risk of squamous cell carcinoma by 15%, and the risk of malignant melanoma by 13%. However, no reduction in the risk of basal cell carcinoma, the most common and the least aggressive type of skin cancer, was observed.

The researchers from the University Hospital in Denmark believe that more research is needed to confirm and further explain their findings. The studies conducted on animals presumably show that NSAIDs can block the growth of early pre-cancerous skin lesions, but whether this is true for humans, remains unclear. There is also an opinion that these drugs can protect against many other cancers, including bowel cancer.

It is not the first time that the subject of aspirin as a kind of panacea for many serious diseases arises. Numerous studies show that aspirin is effective for heart disease. Special studies were even conducted, confirming the reduction in risk of developing certain cancers. However, some experts treat these preliminary findings with caution. They remind us that if we talk about skin cancer, the sun is still the main enemy of human beings, and the harmful effect of its rays is the main cause of this disease. Even if NSAIDs can treat this type of cancer, people should be protected from UVA- and UVB-rays, and avoid sunburns.

Hazel Nunn, a leading British expert in the field of cancer research, warns that suntan is a clear sign that your skin has been damaged. This damage can accumulate over time and lead to skin cancer in the future. Being in the sun, you should protect your body with clothing of light colors and use sunscreen.

Still, there should be some clarification that aspirin can have serious side effects. It is therefore very important to consult your doctor about the risks, if you decide to take it regularly.

The Aspirin Facts

  • Aspirin is also known as acetylsalicylic acid.
  • For many years, it has been used as a painkiller.
  • It has an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Doctors have recommended low quantities (75 mg) to people with cardiovascular disease to prevent stroke and heart attack.
  • The benefits for healthy people are still not identified.
  • Regular use of aspirin can cause fatal internal bleeding, although these cases are relatively rare.