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An Aspirin a Day Could Keep Ovarian Cancer Away

Update Date: Feb 10, 2014 10:10 AM EST
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Previous studies analyzing the effects of taking anti-inflammatory drugs for ovarian health have yielded inconclusive results. Now, according to new findings, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) stated that taking a low-dose aspirin a day could potentially reduce a woman's risk of ovarian cancer by 20 percent.

For this study, the researchers with the National Cancer Institute examined data compiled from 12 large studies that were a part of the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium. The researchers had access to the medical data on 7,776 ovarian cancer patients and 11,843 cancer-free women. The researchers found that 18 percent of the women took aspirin, 24 percent took non-aspirin NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen/Aleve, and 16 percent of them used acetaminophen (Tylenol).

From this data, the researchers were able to conclude that women who took a low-dose aspirin every day had a reduced risk of ovarian cancer by 20 percent. A low-dose aspirin is defined as less than 100mg. For women who used non-aspirin NSAIDs at least once per week, their ovarian cancer risk was reduced by 10 percent. The researchers warned that the result for non-aspirin NSAIDs was not statistically significant. The team concluded that there were no ovarian cancer risk differences between women who took acetaminophen and those who did not.

"Our study suggests that aspirin regimens, proven to protect against heart attack, may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer as well," Britton Trabert, of the National Cancer Institute's division of cancer epidemiology, said reported by WebMD. "However intriguing our results are, they should not influence current clinical practice. Additional studies are needed to explore the delicate balance of risk and benefit for this potential chemopreventive agent, as well as studies to identify [how] aspirin may reduce ovarian cancer risk."

The findings were published in the Journal of National Cancer Institute.

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