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Common Household Drugs Could Help Stop Skin Cancer

A breakthrough has been made in the fight against skin cancer with researchers discovering that common anti-inflammatory medications could stop skin cancers developing into deadly ulcerated melanomas.

Queensland researchers at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute performed a study on 787 people, with findings showing that regular use of some common painkillers including ibuprofen, aspirin and cholesterol lowering drug Statins, could reduce the development of cancerous melanomas.

Ulcerated melanomas occur when the top layer of the skin disappears and this condition can make the chances of survival much smaller. However, these common drugs are said to "modify inflammatory mechanisms in the body that cause melanomas to become ulcerated."

On the other hand, the study also found that those who suffer from diabetes are more likely to develop ulcerated melanomas.

The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and the lead researcher Lena von Schuckmann has said that further studies were needed but the initial results are "really exciting".

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

Meantime, a second study completed at the University of Queensland released their results yesterday showing that aspirin could also be used in conjunction with some cancer drugs to help improve their effectiveness.

The study was published in Clinical Cancer Research journal and showed that mixing aspirin with Sorafenib, a drug used for fighting cancer, "strongly enhanced its effectiveness" for the treatment of lung cancer and melanomas with RAS genetic mutations.

Chief executive of Cancer Council Queensland, Chris McMillian has spoken about the promising studies saying that they could help improve the chances of survival.

"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."

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