For Your Health
Breast Cancer Risk Could be Cut with
Study shows prevention promise of pain relievers
-Julie Ryan Evans
I don’t know about you, but I avoid most medicines at all costs. I hold very unscientific beliefs that your body is better off learning to fight through whatever ails it without masking it with foreign chemicals. So a headache can leave me in tears, with my quick-to-pop-a-pill husband rolling his eyes at my refusal to take anything, but I feel OK about because I believe I’m doing the healthy thing.
Turns out I may be avoiding the very things that could provide immediate relief – and potentially prevent more serious things in the future.
A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute says that after compiling research from more than 38 studies, they found that aspirin and ibuprofen may lower the risk of breast cancer -13 percent lower for those who took aspirin and 21 percent lower for those who took ibuprofen.
However, the link is plausible, says coauthor Mahyar Etminan, Pharm.D., of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
“[NSAIDs] are strong inhibitors of the enzyme cyclooxygenase — COX — which is an important enzyme that is responsible for producing inflammatory mediators,” says coauthor Mahyar Etminan of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. “Inflammation and inflammatory mediators are thought to be important in the pathology of [breast cancer].”
Researchers are still providing caution against women going out and buying pain relievers (also referred to as NASIDs – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) in bulk.
“I would not recommend that women use NSAIDs for breast cancer prevention,” says study author Bahi Takkouche, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. “NSAIDs may have very strong secondary effects. The results of this study just show that women who are taking NSAIDs for other reasons probably have a lower risk of breast cancer.”
But it’s great to see some promise of such simple prevention measures may be forthcoming in the near future.