Women could soon be advised that taking aspirin every day will cut their risk of developing breast cancer, scientists said today.
Experts analysed 21 studies and found that non- steroidal antiinflammatory drugs - the class of common painkiller which also includes ibuprofen - could ward off the disease. The research also suggested that these drugs could help treat women already diagnosed with breast cancer.
However, the scientists warned that more research is needed to discover whether the potential benefits outweigh side-effects such as stomach ulcers and even heart disease. They added that it is important to establish the ideal dose and duration before starting a nationwide push to get women to take the drugs, usually known by the acronym NSAIDs.
Ian Fentiman, a professor of oncology at Guy's and St Thomas' hospital trust in London, carried out the study, which was published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.
He said: "Our review of research published over the last 27 years suggests that, in addition to possible prevention, there may also be a role for NSAIDs in the treatment of women with established breast cancer.
"NSAID use could be combined with hormone therapy or used to relieve symptoms. Having weighed up the findings from over 20 studies, we have concluded that NSAIDs may well offer significant protection against developing breast cancer in the first place and may provide a useful addition to the treatment currently available to women who already have the disease."
Source - Daily Mail