Regular Aspirin Use May Reduce Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Posted on February 18th, 2010 by

According to results from the Iowa Women’s Health Study, regular aspirin use may reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer but does not appear to affect the risk of endometrial cancer. These results were published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) include drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. These drugs are commonly used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain, but research suggests that NSAIDS may also reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

To evaluate the link between aspirin and non-aspirin NSAIDS and risk of ovarian or endometrial cancer, researchers evaluated information from the Iowa Women’s Health Study. The study began in 1992 and enrolled roughly 20,000 women between the ages of 58 and 76 years.

During 15 years of follow-up, 311 study participants were diagnosed with endometrial cancer and 167 were diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

  • Compared with women who reported no use of aspirin, risk of ovarian cancer was 17% lower among women who used aspirin less than two times per week, 23% lower among women who used aspirin between two and five times per week, and 39% lower among women who used aspirin six or more times per week.
  • Use of non-aspirin NSAIDS did not affect the risk of ovarian cancer
  • Neither aspirin nor non-aspirin NSAIDS affected the risk of endometrial cancer.

These results suggest that regular aspirin use may reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Because aspirin use carries some risks, women are advised to talk with their doctor before taking aspirin on a regular basis.

Reference: Prizment AE, Folsom AR, Anderson KE. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and risk for ovarian and endometrial cancers in the Iowa Women’s Health Study. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention. 2010;19:435-442.

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