It's that time of year again, and many of us are packing our bag and heading to the beach. The one important item in that bag should be sunscreen, but hold on to your straw hat. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may be the next skin cancer preventive.
According to researchers at Aarhaus University Hospital in Denmark, taking NSAID products such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, as well as a variety of nonprescription and prescription NSAIDs, may decrease an individual's risk of developing skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma.
The research team analyzed medical records from northern Denmark from 1991 to 2009 and identified a certain number of cases from each skin cancer type. They compared information for patients with and without skin cancer, including prescription data.
Patients who filled more than two prescriptions for NSAIDs had a 15 percent lower risk for developing squamous cell carcinoma and a 13 percent lower risk for developing malignant melanoma than patients who filled two or fewer prescriptions, especially when the drugs were taken for seven or more years consistently. The basal cell carcinoma patients did not seem to show a reduced risk when taking NSAIDs, though they did have a decreased risk of developing this type of cancer on less exposed areas of the body (areas other than the head and neck).
These researchers have high hopes that this will inspire more skin cancer prevention research to take place, especially in the area of NSAID use.
It is important to note that all medications are associated with risk, including NSAIDs. In addition, more research needs to occur before deciding if NSAID use is safe and effective before implementing it as a skin cancer preventive.
Many people who take NSAIDs as part of their daily medication regimen will be eager to see what will develop. I know I will be.
To view the Science Daily article, "Commonly Used Painkillers May Protect Against Skin Cancer," please click here.