A new study suggests that aspirin can prevent skin cancer. TIME magazine reported that in an investigation in the journal Cancer researchers found out that women who take aspirin regularly are less likely to develop melanoma and that the longer they take it the lower the risk is.

"More than 61,000 people were diagnosed with skin cancer in the U.S. in 2009, the latest year for which statistics were collected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and deaths from melanoma cost $3.5 billion in lost productivity each year," reported TIME.

The study researched 59,806 women between the ages of 50 and 79 at the Women's Health Initiative and they were followed for 12 years. They answered questions about their diet, lifestyle habits, medications and sun exposure. The women who reported taking aspirin at least twice a week showed a 21 percent lower risk of melanoma than women who didn't. It also showed that the longer the women took aspirin the lower the risk was.

Myhealthdaily.com reported that all the women included in the study were Caucasian, post menopausal women.

TIME reported that the answer could be in inflammation and the damaging reaction by the immune system to stress and bacteria and since aspirin helps to reduce inflammation it can help slow the process that can trigger cells to grow abnormally. This is the first study to connect the anti-inflammatory effects of the pain killer to lowering the risk of getting melanoma.

"A study published last year linked aspirin and other pain relief drugs like ibuprofen, called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), to a 46% lower risk of colon, lung and prostate cancers. But the current study did not find a protective effect against melanoma for NSAIDs other than aspirin," reported TIME.

"Aspirin works on a slightly different inflammatory pathway than NSAIDs, and some of these pathways may be specific to melanoma," said study author Dr. Jean Tang, an associate professor of dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine to myhealthdaily.com.

"According to Tang, 75 percent of aspirin users reported taking a regular strength aspirin, which is usually 325 milligrams, at least twice a week, while 25 percent took low-dose baby aspirin. The exact dosage and frequency of their overall aspirin use is not known," reported Myhealthdaily.com.

Tang added that aspirin could be used as a way to prevent skin cancer but more testing has to be done before they can start recommending it.  Follow up studes are planned to see if the drug could also prevent melanoma in younger women and also males.