A new study suggests that older women who take aspirin regularly may be lowering their risk of developing the deadly skin cancer melanoma. Furthermore, the longest that postmenopausal women take aspirin, the more their melanoma risk appears to diminish.
This effect is only seen with aspirin, and not with other pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol).
The research team collected data on nearly 60,000 white women who were a part of the Women's Health Initiative, a long-term national study. All were between the ages of 50 and 79, and were asked about what medications they took and other lifestyle preferences. The women were followed-up over the course of 12 years.
Researchers found that women who took aspirin had a 21 percent lower risk of developing melanoma compared to those who did not take aspirin.
Lead author Dr. Jean Tang, an assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, Calif., said:
"Aspirin could be potentially used to prevent melanoma, but a clinical trial is needed."
However, Tang cautions that it is too soon to make any solid conclusions as additional research is needed, and thinks that it is too soon for women to start taking aspirin only to try to prevent melanoma.