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Potential Benefits of Aspirin Therapy

Most of you have probably taken a couple of aspirin to help relieve the pain of a headache, and many of you have taken aspirin to help lower your risk of heart disease. There may be another reason to talk to your doctor about the benefits/risks of taking low-dose aspirin on a regular basis. After reviewing the results of eight studies involving more than 25,500 people, researchers found that the long-term use of low-dose aspirin significantly reduced the risk of some forms of cancer as well.

The lead investigator of the study, Prof. Peter Rothwell, from the John Radcliffe Hospital and the University of Oxford, said that “These findings provide the first proof in humans that aspirin reduces deaths due to several common cancers.”  He went on to say that the results demonstrate new major benefits that have not been factored into current guidelines regarding aspirin therapy. This does not of course suggest that you should start taking low-dose aspirin on your own. There are potential risks associated with aspirin therapy, but if are not already taking aspirin for its l heart benefits, it may be worth discussing this new potential benefit with your doctor.

As mentioned earlier, the benefits came only after long term use, depending on the type of cancer it five to fifteen years of use for measurable benefits to occur. The dose of aspirin taken was low, 75 mg per day (a standard dose is 324 mg), and higher doses did not appear to boost the benefit.

Of course many of the cancers that aspirin appears to lower the risk of – including colorectal and lung cancer are strongly influenced by lifestyle. Establishing a healthy, smoke-free lifestyle is still your best hedge against these common and deadly forms of cancer.

For more information on the role that nutrition, exercise and excess weight plays in cancer risk, log on to the American Institute for Cancer Research web site at www.aicr.org

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