Melanoma risk reduced in women taking aspirin

Woman taking an aspirin

Clinical research has been touting aspirin’s health benefits for years, specifically with regard to cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer. Now a large-scale study from Stanford School of Medicine is linking aspirin to decreased risk of melanoma in women.

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After examining the data of about 60,000 women, researchers found that participants who regularly took aspirin reduced their risk of developing melanoma by roughly 21 percent. According to Stanford, the “protective effect” was shown to steadily increase after each continued year of use. The association stems from about 12 years worth of data drawn from the Women’s Health Initiative (a project designed to give researchers a glimpse into the development of cancer and other diseases in women).  As part of the initiative, postmenopausal women supplied voluntary information regarding diet, sun exposure and medical history for an average of 12 years. The study speculates that aspirin’s anti-inflammatory properties may have played a crucial role in the results. Study authors cited aspirin’s unique activation pathway in the body as a possible reason for its effectiveness. At this point, researchers aren’t entirely certain of the details linking aspirin to reduced melanoma risk. “We don’t know how much aspirin should be taken, or for how long, to be most effective,” Dr. Jean Tang, the study’s senior author, said in a statement. “There are also downsides to aspirin use: stomach complaints, ulcers and bleeding are all potential side effects.” According to Tang, the study was also somewhat limited in that its conclusions were drawn only from participants self-reporting results, which leaves room for error.  How effective is aspirin use in reducing melanoma risk in women? According to the Stanford study:* Regular aspirin use resulted in a 21 percent reduced risk * An 11 percent risk reduction was recorded after one year of use * After one to four years, 22 percent risk reduction was reported * Up to 30 percent risk reduction was seen after five years

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