Posted by: bcconnections | August 9, 2012

An aspirin a day to keep cancer away?

Data published in Lancet and Lancet Oncology suggests that a daily aspirin can reduce the risk of developing cancer and also reduce the risk of cancer spreading to other parts of the body.  The findings were detailed in three separate papers by Professor Peter Rothwell’s group from Oxford University.

When the group analyzed data from randomized controlled trials that were originally intended to study the effect of aspirin on preventing heart disease, they found that people who took daily aspirin had a 15% reduced risk of dying from cancer.  Daily low-dose aspirin was also associated with a 24% reduction in cancer incidence and a 36% reduction in distant metastasis.  The effect on distant metastasis was mainly due to a decrease in metastatic adenocarcinomas, or cancers that originate from glandular tissue, which include most breast and prostate cancers, some lung cancers, colorectal cancers, and cancers of the gut.  The group analyzed data from observational studies and found similar results.  Unfortunately, taking daily aspirin is associated with an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.  Given this risk, it’s important that anyone considering taking daily aspirin consult with their doctor first.

>Short-term effects of daily aspirin on cancer incidence, mortality, and non-vascular death: analysis of the time course of risks and benefits in 51 randomized controlled trials

>Effect of daily aspirin on risk of cancer metastasis:  a study of incident cancers during randomized controlled trials

>Effects of regular aspirin on long-term cancer incidence and metastasis: a systematic comparison of evidence from observational studies versus randomised trials

>Daily aspirin therapy, understand the benefits and risks

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