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Aspirin may help tackle skin cancer say boffins

ASPIRIN may protect women from the most dangerous form of skin cancer, new research has shown.

The longer a woman takes the painkiller, the lower the risk of melanoma, scientists found.

Researchers in the US observed women aged 50 to 79 for an average of 12 years and recorded any cases of cancer.

They were questioned about what medications they took as well as their diet and lifestyle.

Data from 59,806 women showed that those who took more aspirin were less likely to develop melanoma skin cancer.

Overall, aspirin users were 21pc less at risk than non-users.

Each step-rise in the duration of aspirin use was associated with a greater degree of protection.



Women who had regularly been taking aspirin for five or more years were 30pc less likely to develop melanoma than women who did not use aspirin.

The boffins controlled for differences in skin pigmentation, tanning practices, sunscreen, and other factors that might affect the risk of skin cancer.

"Aspirin works by reducing inflammation and this may be why using aspirin may lower your risk of developing melanoma," said study leader Dr Jean Tang, from Stanford University School of Medicine.

The findings are published in an early online edition of the journal Cancer.

Other pain-killing medicines, such as paracetamol, did not lower melanoma risk, said Dr Tang. The results justified a bigger clinical trial to see whether aspirin can be taken to prevent the disease, she added.