Evidence mounting aspirin can lead to lower risk of certain cancers.
Heart health benefits from taking a low-dose aspirin tablet every day have been touted for years by the medical community, but a new study shows the wonder drug may lower the overall risk of getting cancer, primarily colon and gastrointestinal tumors, according to CBS News.
But you better start right away because the benefit was only seen after taking the tablets almost every day for six years, or so say the authors on the study.
Senior researcher Dr. Andrew Chan, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said there is scientific evidence that aspirin has an effect on certain biological pathways the may lead to cancer, and it has been shown to reduce inflammation and the amounts of some cancer-causing proteins. Dr. Chan adds that even though the evidence has reached a point that shows aspirin can help prevent colon cancer, the general population should not take aspirin for cancer prevention, without consulting their primary health care physician.
The study involved over 130,000 women and men who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which over a 30-year period, found 20,000 concurrences of cancer in some 88,000 women, and 7,500 cancers in about 48,000 men. The findings revealed taking low-dose aspirin two or more times each week was associated with a three percent lower risk for cancer overall, with a 15 percent lower risk of gastrointestinal cancers and a 19 percent lower risk for getting cancers in the colon and rectum.
The study did not find an association between aspirin and some other major kinds of cancer, such as breast, prostate, or lung cancer.
According to Eric Jacobs, the American Cancer Society’s strategic director for pharmacoepidemiology, the Society does not have a current recommendation on the use of aspirin, despite mounting evidence of the benefits. Jacobs says people should consider the benefits of taking aspirin along with concerns for the higher risk of stomach bleeding. He recommends anyone thinking about starting a low-dose aspirin regimen should consult with their primary physician before starting, as they would be aware of your overall health and can make a determination of whether the therapy would be in the best interest for the individual.
He also reminded aspirin would not be a substitute for colon cancer screenings, which all Americans over 50 years of age should discuss with their doctor.
The study was published in the journal JAMA Oncology.