Melanoma Update

Dr. Robert Stern of the Harvard Medical School is one of the leading experts in the country on the subject of melanoma.  Along with colleagues, he has studied and written extensively about melanoma, its causes and treatment.  In what I think is his most recent study, he and his co-authors attempted to determine whether taking statins (medications commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (“NASAIDs”), such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, had any effect on a person’s chances of getting melanoma. 

Although other studies have shown that regular statin use decreased the chances of getting melanoma, Dr. Stern’s most recent study did not.  What he did find, however, was that use of any type of NSAID for more than 5 years “significantly reduced the risk of melanoma development” compared with people who took it for a shorter period of time or only intermittently.  When they looked at the data for specific NSAIDs, they found that continuous use of plain old aspirin was the most effective in preventing the onset of melanoma.

While there are risks associated with long-term use of aspirin, the number of positive effects it has been found to have on a wide range of conditions is truly amazing.  In many respects it has earned its reputation as a wonder drug. 

Here is a link to the full study by Dr. Stern and his colleagues:

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