By Kay Quinn Healthbeat Reporter
St. Louis (KSDK) - Taking regular, low-doses of aspirin has been linked to a lower risk of colon cancer.
Now, it seems some popular pain killers could also cut your risk for certain skin cancers.
But it all comes with a warning, as you'll find out on this week's 8 Ways to Prevent Cancer Segment.
The finding came from researchers in the Netherlands who said skin cancer patients who filled at least two prescriptions for non-steroidal anti-inflammatories were less likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
"That would include ibuprofen, so Advil all the way to aspirin counts as a non-steroidal, so even preventive aspirin for heart attacks and things and then some of the things like Celebrex that your doctor may prescribe for joint aches and pains," said Dr. Eva Hurst, a Siteman Cancer center dermatologist.
But what Dr. Hurst didn't like about the study was that non-steroidal pain killers can damage the lining of the stomach, and sometimes be dangerous for the liver. This was also a retrospective study, which means from the past instead of going forward and following patients over a long time.
"The problem with that, is there are so many confounding variables, so were people buying these at a different pharmacy, were they staying out of the sun because they were on non-steroidals, and there's just so many different variables," said Dr. Hurst.
And without more study, Dr. Hurst says don't start taking pain killers just to lower your risk of skin cancer.
"It's suggestive it may be helpful but it's definitely not proof," she said.
Our 8 Ways reports are in partnership with the Siteman Cancer Center.
You can send us your questions about cancer prevention but clicking here.