Pain drugs reduce severity of postpartum breast cancers

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including ibuprofen have been found to reduce the severity of postpartum breast cancers in animal models.

Researchers cautioned doctors and patients, saying “because a mother’s body is undergoing radical changes during this time, we can’t yet speak to the safety of these drugs for women diagnosed with or at risk for postpartum breast cancer, and thus can’t yet recommend NSAIDs as a preventative therapy or cancer treatment.”

The story starts with breast involution – the process by which milk-producing cells that are no longer needed are killed and replaced with fat cells. During this time of change, the breast is especially susceptible to the development of cancer.

In fact, recent studies show that women who have children before age 30 increase their risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer by 10% and women who wait to have children until after age 35 increase their risk by 30%.

Not only is breast cancer more prevalent in young mothers than women who have not had a child, but cancers diagnosed in the early years postpartum tend to be more aggressive, with increased risk of spreading to other organs.

Read more at University of Colorado Cancer Center