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Aspirin could cut risk of breast cancer

Latest update : 2008-03-07

Taking drugs like aspirin regularly could significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer, according to a new report published in Britain. Such drugs could also help treat women already diagnosed.

Taking drugs like aspirin regularly could significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer, according to a new report published in Britain.

The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cut the incidence of the cancer by 20 percent, said the review of 21 studies into the issue over the last 27 years.

Such drugs could also help treat women who already have breast cancer, said Professor Ian Fentiman of Guy's and St Thomas' hospital in London, who compiled the study.

"NSAIDs may well offer significant protection against developing breast cancer in the first place and may provide a useful addition to the treatment currently available to women who already have the disease," he said.

"Recent studies of NSAIDs use have shown about a 20 percent risk reduction in the incidence of breast cancer, but this benefit may be confined to aspirin use alone and not other NSAIDs."

The review, published by the International Journal of Clinical Practice, was based on 11 studies of women who already had breast cancer and 10 comparing women who did and did not have the disease.

Fentiman warned that more research needs to be done on the exact type of drug, as well as how it is administered, before launching a full campaign to urge women to take the drugs regularly.

"The purpose of a review like this is to look at a wide range of published studies and see if it is possible to pull together all the findings and come to any overarching conclusions," Prof Fentiman said.

"This includes looking at any conflicting results and exploring how the studies were carried out," he said, noting that some of the studies found no links between NSAIs and reduced levels of breast cancer at all.

Previous studies have suggested that aspirin can reduce the threat of bowel cancer, but the review is thought to be the first to say it can also cut the risk of breast cancer.

Date created : 2008-03-07