Private medical insurance: Aspirin could reduce risk of skin cancer
A group of health professionals in Denmark believe that taking aspirin regularly may provide some protection against skin cancer.
Aspirin has long been associated with reducing the risk of conditions such as heart disease, but a study of more than 200,000 people in the Scandinavian country found that taking the painkiller reduced the risk of skin cancer – including malignant melanoma – by up to 15 per cent.
Some 18,000 people in the study had been diagnosed with one of the skin cancer types – basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma or the often deadly malignant melanoma.
Scientists studied the medical records of all the individuals taking part so that they could garner information on how many had been prescribed drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen in the previous eight years.
They found that those with more than two prescriptions for such drugs were 15 per cent less likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 13 per cent less likely to have a malignant melanoma.
Despite the findings Cancer Research UK said that avoiding excessive UV rays was still the best way to avoid developing skin cancer.
"By far and away the best way to reduce the risk of skin cancer is to enjoy the sun safely, and take care to avoid sunburn," stated Hazel Nunn of Cancer Research UK.
"Sunburn's a clear sign that your skin's been damaged, and this damage can build up over time and lead to skin cancer in the future. When the sun's strong, use a combination of shade, clothes and at least SPF 15 sunscreen to protect your skin.
"There is mounting evidence that aspirin does reduce the risk of some cancers, but it's too soon to say if this includes skin cancer. Aspirin can have serious side effects - so it's important to talk to a doctor about the risks and benefits if you're thinking of taking it regularly."