With the official start of spring right around the corner, we begin thinking of sunshine and hours spent outside.
With the official start of spring right around the corner, we begin thinking of sunshine and hours spent outside. However, too much time spent in the sun can lead to skin cancer and the worst of them – melanoma. Sunscreens are universally recommended, but a new study has identified another potential weapon against this deadly cancer – the aspirin.
The study by Stanford University researchers found that a daily aspirin regimen seems to be tied to a lower risk of melanoma in postmenopausal women. The study showed that women taking aspirin had a 21 percent lower risk of developing melanoma compared to women who didn’t take aspirin.
The researchers caution, however, that it’s too soon to make firm conclusions. The Stanford researchers gathered their information from the ongoing Women’s Health Initiative, a long-term national study that collected data on nearly 60,000 white women between the ages of 50 and 79. The effect is only seen with aspirin, not with other pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). The study did not look at whether the results are the same for men.
The Stanford group, which reported its findings in the online edition of the journal “Cancer,” is calling for more research before anyone begins adding aspirin to their routine to prevent melanoma. Since 2002, many physicians have recommended low-dose aspirin treatment for their patients to protect against heart attacks and strokes, but the benefits must be weighed against the risks of gastrointestinal bleeding. Check with your doctor before you make any changes to the medications you take.