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Caution urged over cancer-NSAID link

Cancer experts have urged GPs to treat with 'absolute caution' reports linking aspirin or ibuprofen use to dramatic cuts in breast cancer risk.

Many national newspapers carried reports of an 80,000-patient US trial that found patients taking ibuprofen or aspirin at least twice a week for 10 years cut their risk by 49 and 28 per cent respectively.

The researchers, who presented the data to the American Association for Cancer Research last week, urged all women over 40 to take one of the drugs daily. Low-dose aspirin had no effect.

But Dr Richard Sullivan, director of clinical programmes at Cancer Research UK and a former consultant oncologist, said: 'They've gone out and said to women "You should be taking it". But it is not a definitive study.' He urged GPs to use 'absolute caution' when advising women.

Dr Rob Bailey, a GP and hospital practitioner in breast surgery in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, said: 'Some women will not be able to tolerate daily aspirin or ibuprofen. If you get older women to take them you'll get a number with serious GI side-effects.'

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