According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, regularly taking aspirin appeared to lower women's risk of developing the most common type of breast cancer.
The Columbia University study of 2,862 women found that those who reported taking at least one aspirin a week for six months or longer had a 20 percent lower risk of getting breast cancer than women who didn't take the commonly used pain-killer.
The drug's protective effects against breast cancer seemed to be strongest among the heaviest aspirin users, those who took at least seven tablets a week, informs suntimes.com
According to nytimes.com but women already taking aspirin for other reasons may also be protected against breast cancer, Dr. Terry said. For women not already taking aspirin, she said, "the only fair thing would be to have the woman take it or not based on what her physician recommends given her overall health profile."
Dr. Raymond N. DuBois, director of cancer prevention at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the author of an editorial accompanying the report in the journal, said, "We really don't recommend that women run out and start taking aspirin, but some at very high risk should discuss it with their physicians and see if it's the right thing for them to do."
Women at high risk include those with a strong family history of breast cancer or genetic mutations linked to the disease. For them, Dr. DuBois said, aspirin's potential benefits may far outweigh its risks.
For the study, researchers interviewed 1,442 women who had breast cancer and an equal number of similar women who did not. Women who had used any anti-inflammatory painkiller, such as aspirin, at least once a week for at least six months, were about 20 percent less likely to develop breast cancer compared with women who had never taken aspirin. The greatest protection appeared to be among women who took aspirin most frequently -- at least seven tablets a week.
The findings suggest that aspirin, either alone or combined with other drugs, may provide a means for women to reduce their risk for breast cancer, the researchers said, informs washingtonpost.com