Could an aspirin a day help keep prostate cancer away? Possibly

ROCHESTER, MINN. -- A Mayo Clinic study suggests that regular use of aspirin, ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help protect against prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States.

The study found that men age 60 and older who used NSAIDs daily reduced their risk of prostate cancer by as much as 60 percent. The study also suggested that the beneficial effect may increase with age.

The findings of this study are published in the March issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The 1,362 Caucasian men in this study were followed for an average of five and one-half years. Of the 569 men who reported using NSAIDs daily, 23 developed prostate cancer, compared with 68 of 793 men in the same study who did not use NSAIDs daily and developed the disease.

"These numbers mean the proportion of men who used NSAIDs daily and developed prostate cancer was about one-half that of men who did not use NSAIDs daily -- four percent compared to nine percent," says Rosebud Roberts, M.D., a Mayo Clinic epidemiologist and lead researcher on the study.

"Further, the association between NSAIDs and prostate cancer appears to be stronger in older men," says Dr. Roberts. "The risk of prostate cancer among NSAID users was 12 percent lower in men age 50 to 59 years, 60 percent lower in men 60 to 69 years, and 83 percent lower in men age 70 to 79 years compared to men in those same age groups who did not use NSAIDs daily."

The results may mean good news for men, but Dr. Roberts cautions that more research needs to be done.

"Although our findings provide important information that NSAIDs may protect against prostate cancer, they are not conclusive," says Dr. Roberts.

"More research needs to be done to show that the results we saw in our study were not unique to our study but can be confirmed in other similar studies," she said. "We also need to determine the durat

Contact: John Murphy
Mayo Clinic

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