Anti-inflammatories cut risk of mouth cancer

From Anaheim, Calif., at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research

Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs can cut a smoker’s likelihood of developing mouth cancer, a study from Norway suggests. Smoking is a known risk factor for developing this malignancy.

Researchers tracked the health of smokers who entered a national study between 1975 and 1995. The scientists identified 454 people who developed mouth cancer since enrolling in the study and compared their habits with those of 454 smokers who matched them in gender and age but who didn’t have mouth cancer. Most people in both groups smoked hand-rolled had nonfilter cigarettes at a rate of a pack a day for at least 15 years.

The scientists found during interviews that the study volunteers without cancer were about twice as likely as the cancer patients to have regularly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, during the previous 6 months. Most of the NSAID users had taken the drugs for several years.

However, people who regularly took NSAIDs showed twice the risk of death due to heart problems, as compared to other smokers, says study coauthor Jon Sudbø of the University of Oslo.

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