Non-prescription pain relievers may reduce the risk of skin cancer

Non-prescription pain relievers may reduce the risk of skin cancer

Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) taken orally may reduce the risk for the second most common form of skin cancer.

According to The New York Times squamous cell carcinoma, caused by exposure to ultraviolet light over a lifetime, is almost always curable if caught and treated early.

Research published in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that the use of NSAIDS reduced the risk of squamous cell skin cancer by 18 percent.

Researchers analyzed nine different studies. Some combined the use of aspirin and NSAIDS, while others used aspirin or non-aspirin NSAIDS alone. The studies using aspirin alone did reduce the risk of skin cancer, but not as significantly.

The authors said the studies varied in the health conditions of the populations examined and the amounts of medicine consumed.

“These data are preliminary,” co-author Catherine M. Olsen said, a researcher at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane, Australia. “There have to be clinical trials to see if these drugs are useful.”

For now, she said, “the best way to prevent skin cancer is to reduce sun exposure.”


Coffee may help liver function

Coffee may help liver function

People drink coffee for many reasons: the taste, the caffeine, the excuse to socialize, the list goes on. According to a new study, coffee drinking may actually protect the liver as well.

The study, published in the Hepatology journal, looked at the coffee-drinking habits of 27, 793 people, of which more than 14,000 consumed coffee. The researchers tracked the blood levels of four enzymes that indicate liver function.

Researchers found – after controlling for factors such as age, gender, race, and smoking and alcohol consumption – people who drank three cups of coffee a day were about 25 percent less likely to have abnormal liver enzyme levels compared to those who drank none. The results were similar for the 2,000 who drank decaffeinated coffee.

It is unclear what compounds in coffee are responsible for the effect. “There are more than a thousand compounds in coffee,” the lead study author, Qian Xiao, said. “There are a few candidates, but I don’t know which is responsible.”

The study is not based on cause and effect, but rather on observation, so Xiao said he would not make recommendations based on the results. “But it is reassuring that coffee and decaf are not harmful to liver function,” he said.

Coffee drinkers can continue to sip with confidence.