A new study is showing a link between daily long-term aspirin use and reduced risk of cancer. Again, media headlines may encourage people to rush out and start using an over-the-counter product for some perceived miraculous health benefit. Does aspirin prevent cancer?
Newest study regarding aspirin use and cancer risk. The most recent study being mentioned is published in The Lancet. This study was researching to see if aspirin use prevents death from cancer, not for aspirin use in the actual prevention of cancer. In this study, the use of aspirin was found to reduce the risk of death from certain types of cancer. However, it was not show that aspirin prevents cancer.
An older study showed use of aspirin might prevent colon cancer. Does this mean that there’s no chance that aspirin prevents cancer? Although the specific study above did not research that idea, other studies have. Back in 1991, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that daily long-term use of aspirin correlated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. They did not, however, find that aspiring use was the direct cause for such reduced risk.
Study in 2005 showed aspirin had no effect on cancer incidence. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that using low-dose aspirin every other day did not reduce the risk of certain cancers, even at long term use of ten years, at least in women. It is believed that there is still a chance aspirin may prevent these types of cancers, but at higher daily doses.
How could aspirin prevent cancer? Researchers believe that aspirin may have an effect on the prevention of cancer due to anti-inflammatory properties and aspirin’s ability to block certain chemicals and hormones in the body that may help tumors grow. However, only certain types of tumors appear to be affected by aspirin use. Also, most cancers are not affected by low-dose aspirin but may be reduced at higher doses. Studies have yet to confirm this hypothesis.
Talk to your doctor before taking aspirin as a cancer preventive. Aspirin can have serious health risks. From allergic reactions to bleeding in the digestive tract and brain, aspirin can be dangerous to some people, at high doses or with long-term use. Speak with your doctor before taking aspiring in an effort to prevent cancer.
Does aspirin prevent cancer? It might. However, even though aspirin use may reduce the risk of death from certain types of cancer, there is not adequate proof that aspirin actually prevents cancer or what dose is most effective. Speak with your doctor before taking any medication for long-term use, including over-the-counter products such as aspirin.
Peter M. Rothwell, et al.; Effect of daily aspirin on long-term risk of death due to cancer: analysis of random patient data from randomized trials; The Lancet
Michael J. Thun, M.D.; Aspirin Use and Reduced Risk of Fatal Colon Cancer; New England Journal of Medicine
Nancy R. Cook, ScD; Low-Dose Aspirin in the Primary Prevention of Cancer; JAMA