How to prevent skin cancer with painkillers

Recent research published in the journal Cancer has found that people who regularly take painkillers such as aspirin can reduce skin cancer risk by up to 15%. The study looked at 200,000 people in Denmark and measured the number of patients taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and the number of patients who developed of the three types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or malignant melanoma.

Approximately 18,000 of the participants were diagnosed with one form of skin cancer and their medical records were checked to see how many had been prescribed NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. The researchers found that those who were frequently prescribed these painkillers for conditions such as heart disease or arthritis were less likely to develop skin cancer. It was also found that the higher the dosage and the longer period the medication had been prescribed for, the greater the reduced risk of developing the cancer. Those participants with more than two prescriptions for NSAIDS had a 15% lower risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma and a 13% lower risk of developing malignant melanoma.

It has previously been suggested that NSAIDs work by blocking the growth of pre-cancerous lesions and can protect against many cancers such as bowel cancer. Hazel Nunn of Cancer Research UK responded to the study by stating that “…the best way to reduce risk of skin cancer is to enjoy the sun safely, and take care to avoid sunburn.”

If you are concerned about your skin cancer risk, Consultant-Search has a number of expert dermatologists who can help.

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, a deficiency of the immune system due to infection with HIV. Full medical glossary
Any drug that suppresses inflammation Full medical glossary
Inflammation of one or more joints of the body. Full medical glossary
One of the most used medicines. Full medical glossary
A type of skin cancer. Full medical glossary
A common name for the large and/or small intestines. Full medical glossary
Abnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary
Malignant, a tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary
A malignant tumour (cancer) that is formed from the epithelium, the tissue that covers the open surfaces of organs. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of all living organisms. Full medical glossary
The process of determining which condition a patient may have. Full medical glossary
a general term to cover any abnormality such as a wound, infection, abscess or tumour. Full medical glossary
Describes a tumour resulting from uncontrolled cell division that can invade other tissues and may spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary
A malignant tumour arising from pigmented cells or melanocytes, most often in the skin Full medical glossary
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug Full medical glossary

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. A group of drugs that provide pain relief and reduce inflammation.

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septic arthritis Full medical glossary
Relating to cells that make up epithelium, the outer layer of cells that covers the open surfaces of the body. Full medical glossary
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