The NSAID Formula For Former Smokers

Bladder cancer risks lower in former smokers who take NSAIDs regularly

(RxWiki News) They’re common pain relievers you can get at any pharmacy. You know them as Advil, Aleve and Motrin, among other brand names. They are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - NSAIDs.

And they appear to help lower the risk of a particular type of cancer in some people.

Former smokers who regularly take NSAIDs over a period of more than four years have a lower risk of bladder cancer.

"Ask your doctor if daily aspirin or NSAID use makes sense."

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in Seattle studied the association between NSAID use and bladder cancer risk. The technical name for bladder cancer is urothelial carcinoma of the bladder. It's diagnosed in about 74,000 Americans every year.

Investigators worked with some 77,000 Washington state residents participating in the VITamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) study. Participants were between the ages of 50 and 76. They each completed a questionnaire on their NSAID use and any risks of cancer they had.

Their NSAID use was classified as low-use if they took the pain relievers 1-3 days a week for four years or less. High-use was defined as taking NSAIDs four or more days a week for four or more years.

Researchers used a local cancer registry to link NSAID use and bladder cancer diagnosis.

Bladder cancer was detected in 385 individuals during the average follow-up of 7 years. So for this group, the absolute risk of bladder cancer was 0.005 (385/77,000). Here’s what researchers found:

  • NSAID use was not linked to bladder cancer risks.
  • Bladder cancer risk varied by smoking status.
  • People who had quit smoking 10 or more years earlier and reported low NSAID use had a 31 percent reduced risk of developing bladder cancer.
  • Long-term former smokers who were high-users of NSAIDs had a 48 percent reduced risk of the disease that’s diagnosed in about 74,000 Americans every year.

Smoking is the greatest risk factor for bladder cancer. This study suggests that regular NSAID use can lower this risk in people who have quit smoking for more than a decade.

This study was published May 15 in Urological Oncology.

No funding or other financial disclosures were publicly available.



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Review Date: 
August 20, 2012