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Painkillers may lower skin cancer risk

Anti-inflammatory painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen may help protect against the most common form of skin cancer, a new research has found.

PTI|
Updated: Dec 27, 2014, 01.29 PM IST
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Taking NSAIDs other than aspirin was linked with a 15 per cent reduced risk, according to researchers from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane.
Taking NSAIDs other than aspirin was linked with a 15 per cent reduced risk, according to researchers from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane.
LONDON: Anti-inflammatory painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen may help protect against the most common form of skin cancer, a new research has found.

Australian researchers analysed nine studies looking at the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and the risk of squamous cell carcinoma.

They found that taking NSAIDs reduced the risk of squamous cell carcinoma by 18 per cent.

Taking NSAIDs other than aspirin was linked with a 15 per cent reduced risk, according to researchers from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane.

It is the most convincing evidence so far that the drugs help prevent the development of squamous cell carcinoma, researchers said.

However, they still cannot be sure of the effects because some factors - such as how much sun someone is exposed to or even what doses of the drugs they take - have been difficult to pin down with any accuracy, 'BBC News' reported.

It is thought that NSAIDs may prevent skin cancer because they inhibit an enzyme called COX-2, which is involved in tumour development.

Some people are prescribed NSAIDs long term for conditions such as arthritis, but they are not recommended for regular use in healthy people because of side effects, which can include, in rare cases, bleeding in the stomach.

"Noting that most [squamous cell carcinomas] are curable by surgery if caught early, this reduction in risk is interesting, but it is hard to say whether it is worth taking action over it," said Dorothy Bennett, an expert in cell biology, at St George's, University of London.

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