Aspirin may very well be the closest thing we have to a modern-day miracle drug. In addition to alleviating headaches and minor pain, aspirin is often recommended as a way to prevent heart attack or stroke. Now, a new study indicates that aspirin may be a useful tool in helping to lower your risk of developing cervical cancer.
The study, which was lead by researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and published in the Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease, evaluated 328 patients with cervical cancer and 1,312 controls. Participants provided self-reported information regarding the frequency and duration of their pain reliever use.
Researchers found that aspirin use was associated with a 47% reduced risk of cervical cancer among frequent users. Frequent use was defined as taking aspirin seven or more times a week, regardless of duration. There was a 41% reduced risk among long-term frequent users — defined as those with five or more years of frequent use.
“Aspirin use remains an attractive cancer-prevention option, due to the fact that most people will be more likely to take a pill rather than make major lifestyle modifications such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet and engaging in physical activity. However, people need to talk to their doctor before starting an aspirin regimen,” says Kirsten Moysich, PhD, Professor of Oncology in the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control at Roswell Park.
Although further research is needed to validate the findings of this study, the preliminary results hold great promise in advancing the health care of women. The American Cancer Society estimates that 12,900 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed and 4,100 women will die from the disease in 2015.
Unfortunately, acetaminophen use was not associated with decreased risk of cervical cancer. To gain any preventative benefit, aspirin needed to be the pain reliever of choice.