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Daily Aspirin May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Date:5/1/2008

But findings are too preliminary for any firm recommendation, researchers say

THURSDAY, May 1 (HealthDay News) -- Women who take an aspirin each day may reduce their risk of developing the most common type of breast cancer by 16 percent, according to the results of a large study.

Estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer accounts for some 75 percent of all breast cancers, experts say. While aspirin reduced the risk of this form of breast malignancy, other painkillers did not, the U.S. team found.

"Many studies have looked at the relationship between nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and cancer, and the results have been all over the board," said lead researcher Gretchen Gierach, a cancer prevention fellow at the U.S. National Cancer Institute. "We want to further examine the question to see if we can add some clarity, since studies have looked at NSAIDs but haven't broken them down by type of NSAID."

The report is published in the April 30 online edition of Breast Cancer Research.

In the study, Gierach's team collected data on more than 127,000 women aged 51 to 72 with no history of cancer. All had participated in the U.S. National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. That study was designed to look at diet, health-related behaviors, and the risk for cancer.

Gierach noted that aspirin does has different biological effects compared to other NSAIDs.

Aspirin is one of many NSAIDs but unlike other NSAIDs it has irreversible effects on cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes. For this reason, the researchers looked at the differences in cancer risk based on whether women took aspirin or other NSAIDs.

"Among women who reported taking aspirin on a daily basis there was a modest reduction in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer," Gierach said.

Overall, NSAIDs did not affect the total risk of breast cancer. However, the daily use of aspirin was associa
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