An Aspirin A Day Could Keep Cancer Away

pill boxMillions of people take a low-dose aspirin every day to reduce their risk of heart attackstroke and other cardiovascular events.

Daily aspirin also appears to significantly reduce the risk of cancer in people free of the disease and the spread of some cancers in those who have been diagnosed, according to two studies published this week in the medical journal The Lancet.

“The short-term reductions in cancer incidence and mortality … add to the case for daily aspirin in the prevention of cancer,” the team of British researchers, led by Peter M. Rothwell of the University of Oxford, concluded in one of the studies that analyzed data from 51 randomized clinical trials.

The researchers examined the data on 35,535 participants to conclude that daily aspirin use reduced the number of cancer risk “from three years forward” by 24 percent.

In another study, also led by Rothwell, researchers concluded, “that aspirin prevents distant metastasis … [which] suggests that aspirin might help in the treatment of some cancers.”

Moreover, this analysis found that low-dose aspirin formulated to reduce gastrointestinal issues “was as effective as higher doses.”

Finally, in a third article published in The Lancet Oncology Rothwell and a colleague reported that “regular use of aspirin was associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer.” In addition to that 38 percent reduced risk of colorectal cancer, they found daily aspirin use also lowered the risk of gastric, biliary, esophageal and breast cancers.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. If you have questions about the screening, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer, join our online Ask the Experts About Colorectal Cancer forum. Submit your questions and see how Jefferson physicians specializing in this area are responding to the questions put forward by others.

Join the conversation on colorectal cancer at hospitals.jefferson.edu/AskTheExperts/ColorectalCancer.

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