Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are one of the most frequently prescribed drug classes with wide therapeutic applications over the centuries. Starting from the use of salicylate-containing willow leaves to the recent rise and fall of highly selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors and the latest dual-acting anti-inflammatory molecules, they have displayed a rapid and ongoing evolution. Despite the enormous advances in the last twenty years, investigators are still in search of the design and development of more potent and safer therapy against inflammatory conditions. This challenge has been increasingly attractive as the emergence of inflammation as a common seed and unifying mechanism for most chronic diseases. Indeed, this fact put the NSAIDs in the spotlight for repurposing against inflammation-related disorders. This review attempts to present a historical perspective on the evolution of NSAIDs, regarding their COX-dependent/independent mode of actions, structural and mechanism-based classifications, and adverse effects. Additionally, a systematic review of previous studies was carried out to show the current situation in drug repurposing, particularly in cancers associated with the GI tract such as gastric and colorectal carcinoma. In the case of non-GI-related cancers, preclinical studies elucidating the effects and modes of action were collected and summarized.