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Study: Cox-2 Inhibitors Reduce Risk Of Cancer

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http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/hea ... etail.html

POSTED: 3:22 pm EDT April 14, 2006

UPDATED: 5:34 pm EDT April 14, 2006

The following report by Channel 4 Action News medical editor Marilyn Brooks first aired on Channel 4 Action News at 5 p.m. on April 14, 2006.

According to statistics, roughly 26 million American women suffer from arthritis.

A new study just released at the American Association of Cancer Researchers meeting in Washington, D.C., showed women who take medication to ease their arthritis pain are also protecting themselves against cancer.

Joy Greer has fought arthritis for 20 years. To relieve her painful knees, she does water exercises every week and takes anti-inflammatory medication every day.

"I just take it all the time. And to tell you the truth, I feel pretty good. So, I guess it's working," Greer said.

It may be working even better than she realizes.

The medications she takes are called cox-2 inhibitors. The immediate benefit for patients like Greer is that they reduce inflammation.

Researchers said the long-term benefits for all women are much more profound.

"We found that the selective cox-2 blockers -- the new anti-inflammatory compounds like Vioxx and Celebrex -- reduced the risk of breast cancer by about 70 percent," Dr. Randall Harris of the Ohio State University Cancer Center said.

Harris launched his study nearly seven years ago. Since then, Vioxx has been pulled from the shelves over safety concerns.

Still, doctors believe the potential for other cox-2 blockers is enormous.

Harris believes women could see them as preventive medicine against breast cancer -- especially those who are at a higher risk of getting the disease.

"They should be used at a very low dosage, perhaps once every other day. And the rule of thumb is first do no harm," Harris said.

The strongest cox-2 blockers are still available only by prescription. But as doctors learn more about their benefits, the more they might be used in the future to help protect women like Greer.

While prescription-strength cox-2 medicines showed the greatest benefits, the study also found that even over-the-counter medications like aspirin and ibuprofen can cut a woman's risk of breast cancer in half.

It also showed similar results in preventing prostate, colon and lung cancers.

Copyright 2006 by ThePittsburghChannel. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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