Skip to content
Surprising Science

Pain Relievers May Help Reduce Risk of Skin Cancer

Time out of the sun and covering up when you're on the beach is still the best way reduce your risk of skin cancer, but researchers suggest pain relievers may help as well.

The foremost way to reduce your chances of contracting skin cancer is to avoid the sun. But new data suggests that one form, squamous cell carcinoma, could be prevented by taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Nsaid) or aspirin. 

Nicholas Bakalar from the New York Times writes on the study that was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. The researchers didn’t conduct their own study, but looked at data from nine separate ones that showed promising information on the affects of aspirin and Nsaids on cancer risk reduction.

Out of all the studies the researchers dissected, they concluded that Nsaids reduced the risk of squamous cell carcinoma by 18 percent. However, the data from these studies vary in the quantity of aspirin to Nsaids used, number of participants, and health of those participants. Too many variables to make a claim, but enough to continue the investigation.

One of the co-authors, Catherine M. Olsen of the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane, Australia, admitted that this data is only preliminary:

“There have to be clinical trials to see if these drugs are useful.”

Aspirin may not be the end-all treatment, though. The research team will also have to consider a recent 15-year study that, indeed, showed a reduced risk of certain cancers in women, but an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. For now, seeking-out shade is your best bet to reduce your chances of skin cancer.

Read more at NYTimes

Photo Credit: Alex Liivet/Flickr


Up Next