OTC Drug News Update: Aspirin Taken Regularly is shown to Reduce Cancer Risk

A recent study published March 3rd, 2016 within JAMA Oncology Journal examined the potential benefits of aspirin use for overall and specific cancer prevention in the context of screening.  This is a very important discovery as the US Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended the use of aspirin to prevent colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease among US adults.  However, research in regards to the association of aspirin and risk for other cancer types remains uncertain.

The study led by Dr. Andrew Chan at the Massachusetts General Hospital analyzed data from approximately 80,000 women aged 30-55 years and 50,000 men aged 40-75 years who started being monitored in the year 1976. Long-term aspirin use was associated with “a 3 percent lower risk for overall cancers, which was primarily owing to a 15 percent lower risk for gastrointestinal tract cancers and a 19 percent lower risk of cancers of the colon and rectum.”  Therefore, regular aspirin use may prevent a substantial proportion of many forms of cancer when complemented by screening.

Unfortunately, regular aspirin use showed no effect on risk for breast cancer, advanced prostate cancer or lung cancer.  In a Mass General press release, Chan, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School has stated that it would be reasonable for individuals to discuss with their physicians the advisability of taking aspirin to prevent certain forms of cancer, particularly if they have a risk due to family history.  With all this being said, patients should remain well informed of the potential side effects of taking regular aspirin and continue to be regularly screened for cancer.  Have a look here for more information:  http://oncology.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2497878

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