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How does taking aspirin affect skin cancer risk?
For example, many people use aspirin to treat headaches. However, the use of aspirin should be handled with care, especially if you are a man. Researchers have now found that taking aspirin daily can double men's risk of developing skin cancer.
Northwestern University scientists found in their current study that taking aspirin regularly can double the risk of skin cancer, but only in men. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology".
Aspirin can protect against heart attack or stroke
Doctors recommend that some people take a small dose of aspirin daily to prevent a heart attack or stroke. The well-known pain reliever is also said to reduce the risk of cancer of the breast, intestine, prostate and stomach, the experts explain. However, daily intake of aspirin doubles the risk of skin cancer in men, according to the current study.
Many older people use aspirin every day
Almost half of people ages 65 and older reported taking aspirin regularly - if they didn't use the drug every day, they used it at least every other day, the study authors said.
Study analyzed data from nearly 200,000 participants
For their current investigation, the experts analyzed the medical data of almost 200,000 patients, some of whom used aspirin. The study participants were between 18 and 98 years old and had no history of melanoma. The subjects had been taking aspirin for at least one year between January 2005 and December 2006. Subsequent medical surveillance over a period of five years examined whether melanomas had developed during this period.
Aspirin massively increases the risk of skin cancer in men
Of a total of 195,140 subjects in the study, 1,187 took aspirin. The authors explain that 2.19 percent of these 1,187 participants developed melanoma. For comparison, 1,676 (0.86 percent) of the non-aspirin participants developed melanoma. The groups were then divided into men and women. The analysis indicated that men who were exposed to aspirin were almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with melanoma.
Society should be aware of the dangers of aspirin
Given the widespread use of aspirin and the potential clinical effects associated with melanoma, patients and healthcare providers need to be aware that using aspirin in men may lead to skin cancer, study author Dr. Beatrice Nardone of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in a press release. However, this should not lead to men stopping their aspirin therapy if they are at increased risk of a heart attack.
Why are men more susceptible to skin cancer?
One reason why men could be more susceptible to skin cancer is a lower amount of skin cancer-protecting enzymes compared to the amount of enzymes in women, the researchers say. Lower concentrations of the protective enzymes suggest that a higher level of the resulting oxidative cell damage in men could contribute to the development of melanoma, adds Dr. Nardone added. (as)