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Study shows NSAID regimen can help smokers reduce oral cancer risk

Smokers may be able to cut their risk of oral cancer by taking an aspirin or an ibuprofen tablet every day, say Norwegian researchers.

A study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in April showed that light to moderate smokers who took nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs over extended periods of time had 65 percent less risk for developing oral cancer than smokers who didn't take NSAIDs.

Just over 900 smokers were included in the study, half of whom had been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity. Scientists studied participants' use of a variety of NSAIDs-including aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, indomethacine, piroxicame, and ketoprofene. All medicines showed effectiveness at reducing oral cancer risk. Use of acetaminophen was also studied, but was shown to be ineffective at reducing risk of oral cancer in smokers.

Protection from oral cancer was best for smokers who smoked 30 or fewer pack years (a pack year averages one pack of cigarettes per day per year). Participants who smoked three packs per day for 10 years or two packs per day for 15 years were also considered 30 pack year consumers. The effectiveness of NSAIDs was less for smokers with more than 30 pack years.

But the best way to protect yourself from oral cancer, researchers stress, is to quit smoking. For more information about tobacco and oral cancer risk, visit the American Dental Association Web site at "".

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

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