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December 13, 2015

Penn study: Aspirin may help earlier detection of breast cancer

Authors say more research needed to determine drug's effect

Female aspirin users are more likely to have less dense breasts, a quality that may may help increase odds of earlier detection of cancer, a new study from University of Pennsylvania researchers says.

According to the study's authors, the records of 26,000 women who underwent routine screening mammography in 2012 and 2013 were used to look at links between use of the drug and the disease.

They found that women who were regular aspirin were users less likely to have extremely dense breasts, an association that was particularly prevalent among women younger than 60 and African American women.

According to, having very dense breasts, which generally have more non-fatty tissue than normal, not only makes screening harder but also can be six times more likely to develop cancer.

Based on their conclusions, the study's authors suggest a more controlled study is needed to further determine aspirin's role as an agent in early detection.

“Further investigation will advance the body of knowledge in caring for potentially millions of at-risk breast cancer patients worldwide," said assistant professor of Radiology and co-author on the study Despina Kontos in a news release.

In a separate study, Penn researchers found that using aspirin does not increase chances of survival among those already stricken with breast cancer. 

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