People with head and neck cancers could more than triple their chances of survival simply by taking everyday painkillers, a new study, by researchers at the university of California San Francisco, suggests.

Common and cheap painkillers such as ibuprofen and aspirin were found to boost survival rates from 25 per cent to 78 per cent if the cancer contained one specific gene, found in about one-third of head and neck cancers patients.

The Researchers examined the survival rates for patients five years after diagnosis.They found regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs had a dramatic impact for about a third of cancer sufferers.