To try to isolate the effect of aspirin on melanoma, Tang's group accounted for other factors such as skin tone, tanning and use of sunscreen.
Each year in the United States there are nearly 77,000 new cases of melanoma and more than 9,000 deaths from it, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
One expert doesn't see any problem taking aspirin to prevent melanoma, especially for people with a family history of the disease.
Prolonged use of aspirin is not without risks, including stomach bleeding, but the benefits of preventing melanoma outweigh the risk for vulnerable people, said Dr. Michele Green, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She praised the new research.
"I think it's fantastic. It's really a remarkable study," Green said.
"If you have a family history of melanoma, I don't see any downside of taking aspirin for this," she said. "I would urge my patients who have a family history of melanoma to take aspirin based on this study."
To learn more about melanoma, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
SOURCES: Jean Tang, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of dermatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, Calif.; Michele Green, M.D., dermatologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; March 11, 2013, Cancer, online
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