According to a recent article published in the journal

Cancer, the regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) may significantly reduce the risk of developing lung cancer in smokers and former smokers

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States with smoking being one of the main causes. Researchers are continually trying to determine associations between environmental factors and increasing or decreasing the risk of various cancers, including lung cancer.

NSAIDs have recently been linked to having a possible protective effect against the development of some cancers such as colon cancer. NSAIDs inhibit enzymes (proteins) called COX-2 which are expressed in several types of cancer. COX-2 enzymes are thought to play a role in inflammatory responses as well as several biological pathways that are currently being studied.

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A recent clinical study conducted by researchers from several New York medical centers evaluated a possible correlation between the use of NSAIDS and the development of lung cancer. The study included approximately 1,000 patients with lung cancer and 1,000 individuals without lung cancer. Patients were divided into three groups: smokers, former smokers and never smokers. Regular NSAID use was approximately 20% between the three groups. Data indicated that smokers and former smokers had a 40% reduced incidence of lung cancer if they had used NSAIDS regularly for at least one year. This preventive effect did not occur with never smokers.

The researchers concluded that regular use of NSAIDs for at least one year may provide a significant preventive effect in the development of lung cancer in individuals who are smokers or who used to smoke. Further long-term studies are necessary in order to confirm this finding. Patients with lung cancer may wish to speak with their physician about the risks and benefits of NSAID use.

Reference: Muscat JE, Chen S-Q, Richie JP, et al Risk of Lung Carcinoma Among Users of Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs.

Cancer. 2003;97:1732-1736.

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