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These May Cut Risk of Breast Cancer Return in Obese

Experts think anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin might help cancer treatments work better

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"We think of obesity as an inflammatory condition, and women who are obese have a higher risk of recurrence," she said. (In her own research, she has found that higher risk occurs in white, but not black, women.) It does make sense, she said, that aspirin would reduce inflammation and thus the risk of recurrence.

However, the study has some limitations, Bernstein noted. It relies on chart reviews, for instance, not direct interviews with the women. It would also have been valuable to look at aspirin alone, she added, rather than a variety of NSAIDs.

Bernstein agreed more work should be done, including clinical trials to focus on aspirin. If the research continues to bear out, she said, a recommendation to take a daily aspirin might help reduce recurrence of breast cancer.

This preventive measure might be adhered to better than other advice to minimize breast cancer risk, such as increasing physical activity, Bernstein added.

"You can't get all women to exercise," she said, "but you can get them to take an aspirin every day."

The study is published in the Aug. 15 issue of the journal Cancer Research. The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the Breast Cancer Research Program of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs.

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