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HEALTH: Aspirin and Melanoma

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(CNN) – Aspirin has been recommended for years as a good way to cut down on heart attack risks.  However, studies have shown the little pill may indeed help with other health issues.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. According  to the American Cancer Society, nearly 9,000 people die of the disease every year.

Now a new study out of Stanford University School of Medicine finds that women who took Aspirin on a regular basis reduced their risk of developing Melanoma by 21 percent.  Researchers also found that the longer a woman used Aspirin, the lower her risks.

“Individuals who take Aspirin o a regular basis and not too much, two to three pills a week, have a reduced risk of malignant Melanoma,” Dr. Randall Harris of Ohio State University, says.

The study, published in this week’s online journal, Cancer, was based on data taken from the famous, on- going, Women’s Health Initiative study. That  U.S.  initiative looks at post-menopausal women ages 50-79. This particular study focused on 60,000 Caucasian women. These women were selected because of their light skin, which is a major risk factor for developing melanoma.

When it came to long term use of Aspirin, investigators discovered over time, there was an 11 percent risk reduction after one year of use, a 22 percent risk reduction between one and four years of use, and as much as a 30 percent risk reduction at five years and more.

The authors of the study say the findings are significant because Aspirin is known to have other protective effects in women.