NSAIDs help prevent prostate cancer

Daily use of aspirin or another of the class of pain relievers known as NSAIDs could help prevent prostate cancer in older men, say Mayo Clinic researchers. Their study found less than half as many cancers in men who took the drugs on a regular basis than in those who did not.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, affecting about 189,000 men every year. It is also the second leading cause of death from cancer among men.

While new and better detection methods are allowing the disease to be identified at earlier and more treatable stages, these methods do not help prevent the condition. Studies are currently underway to determine the effect of several substances, including selenium, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, and green tea, on prostate cancer risk.

The Mayo scientists decided to study the impact of NSAIDs — nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — on prostate cancer after other studies linked the drugs to a reduced risk of other cancers. They analyzed data on about 1,300 men participating in a study of urinary tract symptoms. The men were enrolled in the study in 1990 and followed for an average of six years. Information on daily medication use was gathered throughout the study.

The study found 4 percent of the men who reported daily NSAID use developed prostate cancer by the end of the follow up. This compares to 9 percent of those who reported no regular NSAID use. The link between NSAID use and a reduced risk of prostate cancer was more significant in men over age 60.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2002;77:219-225

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