Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Ovarian Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Can Aspirin Help Prevent Ovarian Cancer?

WebMD Health News

March 7, 2001 (Nashville, Tenn.) -- It has been commercially available for a century, but aspirin is beginning to look like one of the first wonder drugs of the new millennium. The pain reliever has been shown to help prevent heart attacks and strokes. Now there is evidence that aspirin use on a regular basis may also prevent one of the most deadly cancers affecting women, and researchers say it may reduce the risk of other cancers as well.

A study presented here at the 32nd annual meeting of the Society for Gynecologic Oncologists suggests that regular aspirin use for at least six months is associated with a significant reduction in ovarian cancer -- as much as 40%, researchers say. But they add that it is too early to recommend the routine use of even low-dose aspirin solely to prevent ovarian cancer. That is because long-term aspirin use can result in gastrointestinal bleeding and other serious side effects.

"Ultimately, we will need a large, clinical trial to answer this question," lead researcher Arsian Akhmedkhanov, MD, tells WebMD. "But we believe that this protective effect may not be limited to ovarian cancer. It has been suggested that aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, reduce the risk of colorectal cancers, and we believe they may have a protective effect in other cancers where inflammation may play a role."

Because early diagnosis is difficult, most cases of ovarian cancer are discovered at advanced -- and much less treatable -- stages. More women die from ovarian cancer than from any other gynecological malignancy, and the risk increases with age.

Akhmedkhanov and his team of New York University (NYU) researchers evaluated surveys from a large, long-term, prospective study of women in New York State, designed to assess lifestyle and other risk factors for disease. In 1985, approximately 14,000 women were enrolled in that study, and they were followed for an average of 12 years. A total of 68 epithelial ovarian cancer patients answered their questionnaire, as did 680 women without cancer who were matched with the patients for age, menopausal status, and date of study enrollment.

Today on WebMD

Ovarian cancer illustration
What are the symptoms?
doctory with x-ray
Get to know the Symptoms.
cancer cell
HPV is the top cause. Find out more.
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
Integrative Medicine Cancer Quiz
Lifestyle Tips for Depression Slideshow
Screening Tests for Women
Graphic of ovaries within reproductive system
Ovarian Cancer Marker
Pets Improve Your Health
Vitamin D
Healthy meal with salmon