Some promising data suggests that aspirin may help prevent melanoma in post-menopausal white women. This conclusion is the result of a recent analysis of the Women’s Health Initiative study.

The data suggest that women among this population who regularly took aspirin were less likely to develop melanoma that non-aspirin users. According to the analysis, the longer the women took aspirin, the more their risk was reduced.

In her study of data from 59,806 post-menopausal white women, Stanford University medical student Christina A. Gamba discovered that among the participants in the Women’s Health Initiative, women who had been taking aspirin regularly less than one year had an approximately 11 percent reduced risk of melanoma compared with non-users of aspirin. Those taking aspirin 1-4 years had 20% lower risk, and those taking it five years or longer had 30% lower risk.

If you are interested in adding aspirin to your daily regimen, be sure to speak to your doctor first.

Melanoma numbers from American Cancer Society

Cancer of the skin is by far the most common of all cancers. Melanoma accounts for less than 5% of skin cancers, but it causes a majority of skin cancer deaths.

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for melanoma in the United States for 2013:

  • About 76,690 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 45,060 in men and 31,630 in women). The rates of melanoma have been rising for at least 30 years.
  • About 9,480 people are expected to die of melanoma (about 6,280 men and 3,200 women).

Melanoma is 20 times more common in whites than in African Americans. Overall, the lifetime risk of getting melanoma for whites is about 1 in 50; for African Americans, 1 in 1,000; for Hispanics, 1 in 200. The risk for an individual can be affected by a number of different factors, which are described in ““What are the risk factors for melanoma skin cancer?”

Interested in learning if you are at risk for melanoma? Consider scheduling a skin check. Contact Zimmet Vein & Dermatology today to schedule an appointment.