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NSAID May Have Anti-Bladder Cancer Benefit

People taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs such as naproxen (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil) more than twice a week may have a lesser chance of getting bladder cancer.

The research combined data from three previous studies where authors of each of those studies had asked participants how frequently they took different kinds of medications, including aspirin and NSAIDs, and then tracked how many of them were diagnosed with bladder cancer over the following years.

Researchers followed as much as half a million people with an average age of 62 at the beginning of the study for an average of 7 years.  About 2,500 people were diagnosed with bladder cancer, 4 out of 5 were men. One in 185 people who never took NSAIDs developed bladder cancer.  One in 244 people who took NSAIDs more than twice a week got bladder cancer.

There are a lot of possible reasons why people who take NSAIDs regularly might be less at risk for bladder cancer. A possible explanation is that most likely the inflammation caused by the bacteria or virus makes the DNA mutations that lead to cancer and NSAIDs cut down the inflammation therefore reducing the chance of a cancer developing or spreading.

Lead researcher Dr. Sarah Daugherty from the National Institutes of Health said “based on our results, it would be premature to make recommendations to patients” to take NSAIDs.  The study cannot prove that NSAIDs are responsible for lowering the risk of bladder cancer, and the finding does not mean taking NSAIDs every day is the best choice for everyone. NSAIDs have side effects which includes ulcers.

The research did not find a reduced risk of bladder cancer in people who regularly took aspirin, also an anti-inflammatory.

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