(CNN) — According to a new study, taking aspirin may reduce the risk of melanoma in women. Researchers at Stanford University looked at nearly 60-thousand postmenopausal, Caucasian women for 12 years. It's the largest study ever to explore new ways to prevent melanoma.
They found the women who took regular doses of aspirin lowered their risk of getting melanoma by at least 20-percent. And the longer they took the aspirin, the more they reduced their risk.
This is not proof, however, that aspirin is directly responsible for lowering the risk. Researchers believe inflammation plays a big role in cancer development and aspirin is an anti-inflammatory drug.
Although the study results are promising, an assistant professor of dermatology and senior author of the study, Jean Tang says she isn't ready to say an aspirin a day will keep melanomas away. Tang says there are downsides to aspirin use: stomach complaints, ulcers and bleeding are all potential side effects.
In the study... 75 percent of the women were taking regular or extra-strength aspirin, not baby aspirin. The study was published online March 11 in the journal Cancer.