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Long-Term Aspirin, Ibuprofen Use Increases Breast Cancer Risks

You may recall a study I posted last month about the deadly effects of over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers over the long term increasing your chances of death from heart disease. An interesting study in today's Journal of the National Cancer Institute offers one more reason you ought to reconsider using aspirin and ibuprofen as a long-term pain remedy: Taking either one may raise your odds of breast cancer.

Researchers analyzed data on some 114,000 women between ages 22-85 who participated in the California Teachers Study a decade ago. During a followup period, some 2,400 women were diagnosed with breast cancer of known receptor status.

Although the regular use -- more than once a week -- of NSAIDs was not associated with breast cancer risk, long-term daily use of aspirin was associated with an increased risk of ER/PR-negative breast cancer. Additionally, long-term daily use of ibuprofen was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer and particularly nonlocalized cancer. By the numbers:

  • Taking ibuprofen daily for at least five years increased a woman's odds of breast cancer by 50 percent.
  • Daily use of aspirin for five years or more caused a woman's chances of breast cancer (those not sensitive to estrogen or progesterone) to skyrocket by 80 percent.

Just more reasons than ever for you to seek out the articles I've posted on my Web site this year about the many healthy and safer ways to avoid OTC painkillers altogether. Here's a few links to get you started:

Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 97, No. 11, June 1, 2005: 805-812

USA Today June 1, 2005

EurekAlert May 30, 2005

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