Aspirin Against Ovarian Cancer

Daily Use Reduces Risk By 23%

Woman drinks pill

Woman drinks pill

Taking a low-dose aspirin daily may help women lower their risk of developing ovarian cancer, according to the results of a study published online by JAMA Oncology. Women who reported taking a low-dose aspirin every day had a 23% lower risk of ovarian cancer compared to non-aspirin users. But there’s disturbing news here too.

NSAIDs Not Included

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The research also found that women who were heavy users of non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), over a long period of time had a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.

A Most Fatal Diagnosis

Ovarian cancer is the most fatal gynecological cancer, largely due to lack of early detection strategies. It is believed that inflammation that occurs during ovulation adds to the development of this cancer. But anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin, have been shown to lower the risk of certain types of cancers.

The Study

For this study, data were taken from more than 200,000 women who took part in the Nurses' Health Studies based at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Of the participants, 1,054 developed ovarian cancer. Researchers looked at the participants’ use of aspirin (325 milligrams), low-dose aspirin (100 milligrams or less), non-aspirin NSAIDs and acetaminophen.

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Their analysis found that low-dose aspirin use was associated with a lower risk of ovarian cancer while standard-dose aspirin use was not. Conversely, the data showed that women who took non-aspirin NSAIDs often, defined by at least 10 tablets per week for many years, had an increased risk of developing the disease.

Reference iMollie E. Barnard, Elizabeth M. Poole, Gary C. Curhan, A. Heather Eliassen, Bernard A. Rosner, Kathryn L. Terry, Shelley S. Tworoger. Association of Analgesic Use With Risk of Ovarian Cancer in the Nurses’ Health Studies. JAMA Oncology, 2018; DOI: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.4149
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