Aspirin, Breast Cancer, and Type 2 Diabetes

Women who have Type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who don’t have diabetes. This is especially true of older women who have gone through menopause; studies have found that women with diabetes are up to 20% more likely to develop breast cancer after menopause. Some researchers suspect that both conditions might be tied to overweight or obesity, but they also think it’s possible that Type 2 diabetes somehow directly affects the risk of breast cancer.

A new study from Taiwan now indicates that using low-dose aspirin might reduce the risk of breast cancer in women with Type 2 diabetes. The study, which used data retrieved from the National Health Insurance Database in Taiwan, involved 148,739 women with diabetes (average age 63.3 years), of which 24,378 were taking aspirin. It covered a 14-year period (January 1, 1998, to December 31, 2011). The researchers determined that overall the use of aspirin in patients with diabetes lowered the risk of breast cancer by 18%. The optimal effect of aspirin was found to occur when the daily dosage was more than 88.9 milligrams.

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The study appeared in the Journal of Women’s Health. When it was published, Susan G. Kornstein, MD, editor-in-chief of the journal, commented, “Women with Type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of breast cancer, and these results suggest that the same low-dose aspirin that many of these women take to prevent cardiovascular disease may also help reduce their risk of breast cancer.”

Want to learn more about women’s health and diabetes? Read “Top 10 Health Tips for Women Over 65,” “Diabetes and Chronic UTIs: Questions and Answers,” and “Pregnancy and Type 1 Diabetes.”