Do painkillers protect against skin cancer?

Some of the better known pain relievers, such as acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin®), Ibuprofen and paracetamol appear to prevent malignant skin cancers. This is the result of a Danish study.

Doctors from the Aarhus University Hospital have analyzed patient data from the years 1991 to 2009. They compared 18,000 cases of skin cancer with nearly 180,000 patients without skin cancer. The result: Patients on whom more than two analgesics had been prescribed suffered from malignant skin cancer (melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma) by 15% less frequently. If the painkillers were dosed higher, this effect even increased. For a certain skin cancer variant, the only conditionally malignant basal cell carcinoma, there was no connection with the use of analgesics.

Why painkillers work that way, a study published in 2005 has already tried to explain in Australia. The analgesics block inflammatory reactions in the body, which could be crucial for the development of skin cancer.

Author: Christian Sachse, 29.05.2012
Source: Cancer