Regular intake of aspirin reduces the risk of developing an aggressive form of ovarian cancer, researchers from the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre and Karolinska University Hospital have found.
"Ovarian cancer has a high mortality. Understanding what factors are involved in the development of this disease and investigating preventative interventions for women are vitally important," said Dr Susanne Kjær, researcher at the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre. "Our study examined the role of analgesics in development of ovarian cancer."
The finding is based on an analysis of the data of 1,564 women between the ages of 35 and 79 drawn from the general population and comparing it with 756 women with epithelial ovarian cancer from the malignant ovarian cancer (MALOVA) study. Among the 756 women, 447 were serous, 138 mucinous, and 171 other types.
During the study, all the participants were interviewed to know about their regular analgesic drug use. The study found that women who take aspirin on a regular basis decreased their risk of serous ovarian cancer, according to the findings published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica journal.
Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecological malignancy and the fifth leading cause of death by cancer for women in the developed countries. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year 20,000 women in the US are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, with 90 percent of cases occurring in women older than 40 years of age and the largest number in those 60 years or older.
"Our findings suggest a potential protective effect of analgesic use on ovarian cancer risk, but that benefit should be balanced against adverse effects of pain medication use, such as risk of bleeding and peptic ulcers," said Kjær.
The authors recommend that larger studies, which accurately assess dosage, frequency and duration of pain medications, are necessary to understand the impact of analgesic use on ovarian cancer.