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Effective Monday, July 19, 2021, the following NOH/OMG office locations will no longer provide on-site blood draws: Westlake, Lorain, Olmsted Falls and Dewhurst. Click here for the nearest lab service location. 

Looking Into The Aspirin And Skin Cancer Connection

August 5, 2021

We are in the dog days of summer, and you’ve probably been spending a lot of time out in the sun. Hopefully, you’re slathering on the sunscreen each time you go out. Consider adding another level of protection against skin cancer: aspirin.

Taking a low-dose aspirin each day has long been touted as a way to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Taking a regular dose of aspirin diminishes the ability of your blood to clump together into clots by targeting the body's smallest blood cells. In other words, aspirin’s blood-thinning properties help to keep clots from forming. But there are several studies that say an aspirin a day may also keep skin cancer away.

So, let’s take a look at some of the studies that have researched the aspirin and skin cancer connection and compare the results.

What The Studies Found

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, in one large study where researchers looked at more than 50,000 women, they found that postmenopausal women who took aspirin regularly had a lower risk of developing melanoma than women who seldom took aspirin.

Another study yielded similar results. It found that aspirin may be effective as adjuvant therapy in metastatic cutaneous melanoma and uveal melanoma.

Cutaneous melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. It occurs when the pigment-producing cells that give color to the skin become cancerous. Symptoms might include a new, unusual growth or a change in an existing mole.

Uveal melanoma is cancer (melanoma) of the eye involving the iris, ciliary body, or choroid (collectively referred to as the uvea).

A third study found that taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help prevent basal cell carcinoma, particularly in high-risk populations. Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in the basal cells. A large randomized controlled trial is required to confirm these findings.

But in another study, researchers found that the men who took a daily aspirin had twice the risk of developing melanoma as men who did not take a daily aspirin. So, there is still much more research to be done.

The Verdict On Aspirin and Skin Cancer

While a few studies have reached this conclusion, dermatologists caution that the decision to take a daily aspirin is best made by you and your doctor. That’s because aspirin may bring about many side effects when it’s taken on a daily basis. These include bleeding in your stomach, intestines, or brain.

The bottom line is that if you’re healthy and taking precautions when you go out into the sun, you probably don’t need to take an aspirin a day all summer long or on your next beach vacation. What you should do is talk to your doctor about it and go over your options to find out what’s right for you.

This includes getting your blood pressure checked to make sure your heart health is where it should be. You can prepare for your visit by taking a look at our guide “Heart Disease Facts” for more ways you can decrease your risk.

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