Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers May Prevent Breast Cancer

 Behind the Cancer Headlines®

April 10, 2003 


Results of an important new study presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), reveal taking regular doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, inhibit the growth of breast cancer.  

According to data taken from the National Institute of Health's Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Observational Study, women taking two or more NSAID tablets per week (considered regularly) have a significant effect in reducing the risk of developing breast cancer. 

Regular use of NSAIDs for five to nine years reduced participants' risk of developing breast cancer by 21%. Extending the use to ten or more years resulted in an even greater reduction of 28%. Regular use of low-dose aspirin (<100 mg) had no protective results.  

This comprehensive nationwide study enrolled 80,741 post-menopausal women between 50 and 79 years of age with no reported history of cancer, other than non-melanoma skin cancer. Each woman completed a personal interview, which collected information on their individual risk of developing breast cancer and their use of aspirin and ibuprofen. Of the 80,741 enrolled, 1,392 were later diagnosed with breast cancer.  



Proceedings from the 94th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, April 8, 2003, Toronto, Canada