Aspirin and ibuprofen can help prevent skin cancer
Non-prescription painkillers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, could help to prevent skin cancer, the latest research is claiming.
A study of almost 200,000 people in Denmarkhas revealed the risk of developing two types of skin cancer is much lower in those that take painkillers on a regular basis.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which also include naproxen, are said to reduce the risk of malignant melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma by up to 15 percent.
The level of protection against the disease is thought to depend on the length of time that people take the painkillers for, and the strength of their dose.
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In particular the researchers, from the AarhusUniversityHospitalin Denmark, found those with the least risk of developing cancer had been on at least three courses of NSAIDs.
The effect of the painkillers was even stronger when participants that had been taking ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen for at least seven years had the lowest risk.
More often than not they were being prescribed painkillers for conditions such as arthritis and heart problems.
Out of the 200,000 people involved in the research, approximately 18,000 had been diagnosed with one of three different strains of skin cancer; malignant melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma.
The team reviewed the medical records of each participant, including a history of their prescriptions.
They found people were 15 percent less likely to suffer from squamous cell carcinoma if they had been prescribed at least two courses of painkillers.
Meanwhile, the risk of developing malignant melanoma was 13 percent lower under the same circumstances.
The team believe painkillers like aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen have this effect because they prevent the activity of certain enzymes that play an important part in the development of cancer.
Despite the promising outlook, the researchers have said their findings are not conclusive and more research needs to be carried out.
The lead researcher, Sigrun Alba Johannesdsttir, said: “We hope that the potential cancer-protective effect of NSAIDs will inspire more research on skin cancer prevention.
“Also, this should be taken into account when discussing benefits of NSAID use.”
However, experts have said using sunscreen and avoiding the sun is still the most effective way for people to protect themselves against the risk of skin cancer.
Commenting on the research, Hazel Nunn, from Cancer Research UK, said: “This study has several limitations - for example, the researchers only looked at people’s medical prescription, which meant they couldn’t tell whether those who had been prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin had actually been taking them.
“And they didn’t have records of people using over-the-counter painkillers.
“There is mounting evidence that aspirin does reduce the risk of some cancers, but it’s too soon to say if this includes skin cancer.
“Aspirin can have serious side effects - so it’s important to talk to a doctor about the risks and benefits if you’re thinking of taking it regularly.”
The results of the study have now been published in the journal Cancer.
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Dubai's new smart neuro spinal hospital: need to know
We take a look at Dubai's new smart hospital.
What: The Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre is a new hospital featuring state-of-the-art technology for spinal, neurosurgical, neurological, orthopaedic, radiosurgery and cancer treatments. The 700 million AED hospital, (equivalent to £138 million), has 114 beds, smart patient rooms, and green spaces for patient rehabilitation, and is four times the capacity of its former premises in Jumeirah. It is also the UAE’s first hospital to have surgical robots.
Where: The hospital is located in the Dubai Science Park. Founded in 2005, Dubai Science Park is home to more than 350 companies from multinational corporations in life sciences, biotechnology and research; over 4,000 people work here each day.
Who: The UAE's Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre was first established in Jumeirah in 2002 by Dr. Abdul Karim Msaddi, as the first as the first "super-specialty" neuroscience hospital.
Why: With advanced diagnosis and robotics, the hospital will provide care across neuroscience, spine, orthopaedics and oncology for people residing in the UAE, as well as international patients.
Prof. Abdul Karim Msaddi, Chairman and Medical Director of the hospital, said: “We are proud to bring world-class healthcare services to Dubai and believe our next-generation hospital will be a game-changer for the emirate’s and the region’s medical industry.
"It will not only significantly increase the availability of specialist neuroscience and radiosurgery treatments and provide better patient care but help attract and develop local and international talent. Investing in the new centre represents our continued faith in the resilience of the region’s economy, as well as a testament to our ongoing drive towards healthcare innovation in the UAE.”