Findings from research by scientists from Queen Mary University of London indicates that taking aspirin can significantly reduce the risk of certain cancers, most notably bowel, esophageal and stomach cancers. The conclusions of the study are published in the Annals of Oncology journal.
Findings of the said research show that taking aspirin for 10 years can cut the risk of bowel cancers by 35 percent and deaths by 40 percent. For esophageal cancer, the risk can be reduced by 35 percent and deaths by 50 percent. Benefits seem to be ideal for people between the ages of 50 to 65 years old taking a daily dose of 75 to 100 mg of aspirin daily for five to ten years. No benefit was seen for the first three years. The benefits of reduced cancer risk were seen after five years of taking aspirin.
The researchers reviewed all the available evidence from existing studies and clinical trials that looked into both the benefits and harms of taking aspirin daily. According to Professor Jack Cuzick, Head of the Centre for Cancer Prevention at QMUL, “It has long been known that aspirin- one of the cheapest and most common drugs on the market- can protect against certain types of cancer. But until our study, where we analysed all the available evidence, it was unclear whether the pros of taking aspirin outweighed the cons.”
“Whilst there are some serious side effects that can’t be ignored, taking aspirin daily looks to be the most important thing we can do to reduce cancer after stopping smoking and reducing obesity, and will probably be much easier to implement,” he further added.
But because taking aspirin regularly also comes with side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding and peptic ulcer, further research may be needed to define clearly who can benefit more from taking aspirin daily and who are the most at risk from its side effects.
Source: Oxford University Press (OUP). (2014, August 5). Aspirin: Scientists believe cancer prevention benefits outweigh harms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 7, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140805221119.htm