PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – From pain relief to blood thinner, aspirin is good for a lot of things.
But, did you know that an aspirin a day could also fight cancer.
In a study looking at 1,500 people with melanoma, and comparing people who were taking aspirin with those who weren’t, an interesting pattern turned up, especially when it comes to Stage 2 and Stage 3 melanoma.
“For the middle melanomas, which are the ones that are diagnosed most commonly, there was a benefit. People taking aspirin lived longer than people not taking aspirin,” Dr. Brian Horvath, of Horvath Dermatologym said.
Survival wasn’t different with aspirin or without in people with early melanoma, where most treatments help, or with advanced melanoma, where most treatments do not.
“The middle ones are the ones that can be more difficult to treat, and we actually have the opportunity to make advances with,” Dr. Horvath said.
This type of study can’t prove cause and effect, but hints this could be an area to explore further.
To shield the tumor from the immune system, melanoma makes hormones called prostaglandins and factors that boost the number of clotting cells. Aspirin counters this.
Other studies are looking at whether aspirin might help with different types of cancer, such as breast, prostate, and colon.
Of course, there are risks with this drug, too, such as bleeding and stomach irritation.
“At this stage, what we can say is that there’s definitely a potential that it may help treat melanomas, but we need to do more additional testing to know for sure,” Dr. Horvath said.