~ Australian Research Shows Aspirin May Prevent Skin Cancer

AFX News Limited, 11-07-05

SYDNEY (AFX) - The common painkiller aspirin, already found to be effective in reducing the risk of heart disease, may also help lower the incidence of skin cancer, Australian researchers said.

According to a study undertaken by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, regularly taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin could offer increased protection against skin cancer and sunspots.

"We found that people who regularly used aspirin and other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) had significantly lower risks of developing skin cancer than people who did not use them," researcher David Whiteman said.

"Moreover, we found that among people who had never had skin cancer, those who regularly used aspirin had significantly lower numbers of sunspots."

Whiteman said that aspirin-type drugs shut down an enzyme known as cyclo-oxygenase (COX) which allows some types of skin cancer to develop.

"Aspirin blocks the COX enzyme and it just so happens that these enzymes are involved in inflammation... and these enzymes are also used by cancer cells to stimulate blood cells," he told Agence France-Presse.

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