A new study suggests that taking an aspirin a day may lower the risk of breast cancer in women.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia, the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and the University of Santiago de Compostela took results from 38 studies involving 2.7 million women. They combined all the data and the study showed that those taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) painkillers had a 12 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those who didn’t take any painkillers.
Breaking down the study even more, aspirin was found to have a 13 percent decline while ibuprofen had a 21 percent lower risk.
Dr Mahyar Etminan, of the University of British Columbia, said: ‘The results are encouraging and may help us better understand the importance of inflammation in the pathology of the disease. However, we don’t recommend the routine use of NSAIDs for breast cancer prevention until large randomised trials confirm these findings.’
Dr Jodie Moffat, of Cancer Research UK, said: ‘There is evidence that aspirin and other NSAIDs can help to prevent certain types of cancer from developing but more research is needed before NSAIDs can be widely recommended. It’s important to remember that taking drugs such as aspirin over long periods of time can cause significant side effects.’
Studies in the past have shown that aspirin can help fight against heart disease, blood pressure, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.
On the other side though, the drug can also increase the risk of stomach bleeding, ulcers and kidney problems.
“I would not recommend that women use NSAIDs for breast cancer prevention,” says study author Bahi Takkouche, MD, PhD, of the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. “NSAIDs may have very strong secondary effects. The results of this study just show that women who are taking NSAIDs for other reasons probably have a lower risk of breast cancer.”
These findings were published this month in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.