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Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have reviewed nine prior studies and have resolved that the use of common over the counter pain relievers may reduce the risk of certain types of skin cancer. Though the best prevention of skin cancer is skill limiting sun exposure, these over-the-counter medications may reduce the risk up to 15%.
Approximately 2.2 million people are diagnosed with squamous or basal cell skin cancer annually. These cancers rarely metastasize into threatening conditions and are typically removed safely, however, there is still an inherent risk. These types of cells seem to be the ones responsive to common painkillers.
Upon review of the data, researchers examined the effects of various OTC pain relievers including ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. Aspirin had little effect on these cells, however, both ibuprofen and naproxen seemed to fight off cancerous cells. It is believed that these medicines inhibit the cells' normal functioning rendering them unable to develop the dangerous cancerous proteins. As there an inherent risk in regular use such as digestive ulceration, researchers are not ready to provide any dosage recommendations. This does provide hope, though, that in these medicines may be a potential treatment for these and other types of cancers.