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Aspirin Linked With Lower Skin Cancer Risk

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Aspirin, ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help to prevent against skin cancer, a new study in the journal CANCER suggests.

The study, which included the health information of about 200,000 people, was conducted by researchers from the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark.

They found that people in the study who had more than two NSAID prescriptions had a 15 percent lower risk for squamous cell carcinoma, a kind of skin cancer, as well as a 13 percent lower risk for malignant melanoma, a deadly form of the cancer. This is compared with people who only filled two or fewer NSAID prescriptions.

The decreased skin cancer risk was especially pronounced when the people took them for at least seven years, and with "high-intensity use," researchers said in the study.

Researchers did not see a general decreased risk of basal cell carcinoma with NSAID prescriptions, though there was a decreased risk for this kind of cancer on parts of the body that aren't usually exposed to the sun.

"The mechanism of action is not totally clear, but it's thought to be due to their anti-inflammatory effects," Dr. Josh Zeichner, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, told ABC News. He noted that inflammatory enzymes may contribute to cancer growth by feeding tumors.

However, more research is needed to confirm the effects of NSAIDs on skin cancer, he told ABC News.

Earlier this year, two other studies came out showing aspirin could help fight against other cancers. Reuters reported on a small Lung Cancer study, which showed that taking aspirin twice a week, at least, may lower lung cancer risk in women.

And Medical News Today reported on a British Journal of Cancer study, showing that aspirin may help people with colon cancer to live longer.

However, HuffPost blogger Dr. Julie Chen, M.D., an integrative medical doctor, wrote in a blog post last month that a daily aspirin may not be right for everyone, and that people should consult with their doctors before starting the habit.

She wrote:

You should also keep in mind that just because baby aspirin was at one point in your life appropriate for you, it may not always be appropriate if you have new diseases or conditions, or are on new medications. So you should always double check about your medications with your physician at your yearly physical to make sure that the medications you are on are still appropriate for your medical status.

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