Painkillers reduce oral cancer risk
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce half the risk oral cancer in active and moderate cigarette smokers.
NSAIDs have previously been shown to protect against colon and breast cancer, but it is not known whether they have the potential to prevent oral cancer. To investigate, the researchers studied data from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian Cancer Registry. Out of 3,233 individuals at high risk of oral cancer, based on their tobacco habits, 454 developed cancer of the oral cavity. These individuals were matched by age and sex to 454 cancer-free controls. Of the group as a whole, 263 were long-term NSAID users and 645 were not. A total of 77 patients with oral cancer were NSAID users compared to 186 without oral cancer. Long-term use was defined as taking NSAIDs daily for at least 6 months, and most of the NSAID users in the study had been taking these drugs for 5 years or more. The likelihood of developing oral cancer with long-term NSAID use was a highly significant 51 per cent lower compared with not taking NSAIDs. Acetaminophen (paracetamol), which is not in the NSAID class, had no apparent protective effects.
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