Aspirin and Melanoma

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Story Updated: Mar 22, 2013

An aspirin a day may keep the cancer doctor away. Or so suggests a brand new study.

Researchers analyzed data from the Women's Health Initiative Observational study, a U.S. program that followed more than 90,000 women ages 50 to 79 years for an average of 12 years to determine the most common causes of death. Participants were asked what medications they took, what they ate, and about their activity level.

In this new study, the team zeroed in on the records of nearly 60,000 participants to see if and when they developed skin cancer. They found that those who took aspirin were less likely to develop melanoma skin cancer, the deadliest form of the disease.

Overall, women who used aspirin on occasion had a 21 percent lower risk of melanoma compared to non-users.

And the longer the use, the lower the risk. Those who took the aspirin for five or more years had a 30% reduced risk.

The researchers suspect the anti-inflammatory properties in the aspirin might be behind the effect...but more research is needed to confirm their suspicions.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the latest breakthroughs from the world of medicine.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com