Common medications could cut down risk of melanoma

A study by the Brisbane-based QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute has revealed that common anti-inflammatory painkillers including ibuprofen and aspirin could reduce the risk of skin cancers turning into deadly melanomas.

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Melanomas originally look like a normal mole or freckle. When the freckle begins to change colour, size or shape it can indicate that it has become a melanoma.

Melanomas rapidly make their way throughout the body and can cause tumours in the liver and brain. It’s aggressive behaviour results in a poor survival rate.

The study also found that statins (a cholesterol-lowering drug) also lower the risk of the condition.

Researchers in the study suggest that the medication works by “[modifying] inflammatory mechanisms in the body that cause melanomas to become ulcerated.”

Lena von Schuckmann, Lead researcher of the study said further studies were needed, but the findings so far were “really exciting.”

“Potentially, down the track, we can find some causations and potentially find some modifiable risk factors for melanoma ulcerations,” she said.

Chris McMillan the chief executive of the Cancer Council Queensland told The Courier Mail that ulcerated melanomas grow quickly and result in higher risks of death.

“Research into this area is vital to help us better understand how to detect and treat melanomas early to improve survival and reduce long-term effects on patients,” she said.

“If you notice a new spot on your skin or a change in the size, shape or colour of a spot, it’s important to visit your GP as early detection saves lives.”

There are more than 10,000 cases of melanoma diagnosed each year in Australia and in 2014 alone there were 1467 deaths from the deadly cancer.