Common painkillers may reduce risk of ovarian cancer

Ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen may offer more benefits than we think.

Published January 17, 2006 2:42PM (EST)

Here's some more potential good news about ovarian cancer. A new report in the journal Epidemiology suggests that use of common painkillers may reduce women's risk of developing the often-deadly disease.

The population-based study found that those who regularly used NSAIDs -- i.e., non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen -- in the preceding five years were 28 percent less likely to develop ovarian cancer than were nonusers. The risk was reduced most when people took aspirin.

Still, researchers are a long way from recommending painkillers solely for the prevention of ovarian cancer. The lead author of the study, Dr. Joellen M. Schildkraut, of Duke University Medical Center, told Reuters Health that more research and clinical trials were needed to confirm the link "and to clarify various issues, such as the optimal agent as well as the appropriate dose and duration of use needed to see a benefit."

By Lori Leibovich

Lori Leibovich is a contributing editor at Salon and the former editor of the Life section.

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