TAMPA, Fla. – Ovarian cancer is the most fatal gynecological cancer because it lacks early detection strategies. But something that’s already sitting on your medicine cabinet shelf might be a step in the right direction for some women.
Carla Jimenez feels lucky every day: she’s alive. She’s playing with Bruno and she beat stage three ovarian cancer.
“I have been very fortunate,” Jimenez said.
Now, a new study could help prevent women from getting ovarian cancer in the first place. It all has to do with this over-the-counter low-dose aspirin.
“And that’s where we found the really striking findings,” said Shelley Tworoger, Ph.D. from the Moffitt Cancer Center.
Tworoger found that women who took low-dose aspirin every day had a 23 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer compared to non-aspirin users.
“But taking regular dose aspirin, 325 milligrams, was not associated with lower risk of ovarian cancer,” Tworoger said.
Her study also found that women who took 10 tablets per week for many years of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen had a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. Tworoger says more research needs to be done to make an official recommendation, but since many women take aspirin to prevent heart disease they could be ahead of the game.
“If we can sort of loop people in by talking about cardiovascular disease, we might have a secondary benefit of helping prevent ovarian cancer along the way,” Tworoger continued.
And for survivors like Jimenez, she’s just glad to hear aspirin is now an ally.
“To have anything that could actually be preventative is really kind of revolutionary,” Jimenez said.
Two hundred thousand women participated in the study, and 1,054 developed ovarian cancer. Tworoger says there can be health risks to taking daily low-dose aspirin.
The primary risk is GI bleeding, which can be a dangerous condition. Women should speak to their doctor before starting to take daily low-dose aspirin to make sure it is appropriate.
Contributors to this news report include: Emily Maza Gleason, Field Producer; Chris Tilley, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.