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NSAIDS Reduce Deaths from Colorectal Cancer

Using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDS) before being diagnosed with colorectal cancer reduced women’s deaths both from any cause and from colorectal cancer five years later.

Women followed as part of the California Teachers Study who used NSAIDS regularly had more than 40 percent reduction in colorectal cancer deaths and a 30 percent  reduced chance of dying overall.

Among women in the study, there were 621 women wh developed colorectal cancer.  In that group

  • 64 percent had no pre-diagnosis use of NSAIDS including aspirin and ibuprofen.
  • 17 percent used them 1-6 days a week.
  • 20 percent used them daily.
  • 17 percent reported less than 5 years of NSAID use.
  • 18 percent reported use for more than 5 years.

After adjusting for other colorectal cancer risk factors, regular use (1-3 days a week, 4-6 days a week, and daily) resulted in a 29 percent overall survival (HR 0.71) and 42 percent colorectal cancer survival (HR 0.58) improvement compared to those women who didn’t use NSAIDS at all.

Women who used NSAIDs for five years or more had 35 percent reduced risk  of dying from any disease and a 60 percent increase in colorectal cancer specific survival.

Writing in Cancer, Jason A. Zell, DO, MPH, and his colleagues concluded,

When used regularly or over a prolonged duration before CRC diagnosis, NSAIDs are associated with decreased mortality among female CRC patients.

SOURCE: Zell et al., Cancer, published early online October 13, 2009.

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