Aspirin and other similar painkillers may help protect against skin cancer, researchers in Denmark have found.
According to the study of 200,000 people, people who take NSAIDs on a regular basis reduce their risk of developing certain skin cancers by around 15 per cent.
Some 18,000 participants had been diagnosed with of one of three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma; squamous cell carcinoma; or malignant melanoma.
Those who filled more than two prescriptions for NSAIDs had a 15 per cent decreased risk for developing squamous cell carcinoma, and a 13 percent decreased risk for developing malignant melanoma, than those who filled two or fewer prescriptions for the medications.
Patients who took NSAIDs did not seem to benefit from a reduced risk of developing basal cell carcinoma in general, although they did have a 15 percent and 21 percent reduced risk of developing this type of cancer on less-exposed sites (body areas other than the head and neck) when they took them long term or at high intensity, respectively.
'We hope that the potential cancer-protective effect of NSAIDs will inspire more research on skin cancer prevention,' said study leader Sigrún Alba Jóhannesdóttir. 'Also, this potential cancer-protective effect should be taken into account when discussing benefits and harms of NSAID use.'
The study was published in CANCER, a journal of the American Cancer Society.