Does Aspirin Really Prevent Cancer?

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Does Aspirin Really Prevent Cancer?

Continued research suggests that taking small doses of daily aspirin, over a period of years can reduce the risk of certain cancer. In April of this year, the US Preventive Services Task force released a recommendation that a low dose of aspirin is highly beneficial, especially for adults between the ages 50 – 59.

According to Charles S Fuchs, MD, MPH, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber, their research has demonstrated a benefit of aspirin in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer and was quoted as saying “we are pleased with the new recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.” Further data suggests aspirin as a preventive measure for colon, rectum, stomach and esophagus cancers. With colon cancer, rectal cancer, and prostate cancer being among the most common life-threatening cancers in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute, it is definitely worth taking notice of this news.

Aspirin has shown to be effective in reducing the risk of cancer by its role in fighting inflammation. Aspirin blocks the production of the enzymes that increase inflammation in your body and speed or assist the growth of cancer cells. Ongoing research seeks to fully understand why aspirin has shown such a dramatic impact on cancers, and hope to assess whether it is possible to leverage those findings to improve the treatment of patients who already have more established cancers.

The Task Force’s recommendations, the adults most likely to benefit are those who are not at risk for gastrointestinal bleeding, and who are willing to take the low-dose aspirin daily for at least 10 years. Further recommendations are that individuals older than 60 should first consult their primary care physician and the possible risks associated with continued use thereof.

These recommendations, however, have highlighted that there is little evidence suggesting that use of aspirin under the age of 50 is beneficial for individuals. The focus has also been the positive impact aspirin has on men, rather than women. There is also the significant possibility of continued use of aspirin causing gastrointestinal bleeding, which can be fatal. So it is very important to measure the risks, as well as to do so alongside your personal physician.

The first data released in August 2014, from London’s Queen Mary University, concluded that daily aspiring taken over a 10 year period could reduce the risk of developing cancer by as much as 40%, a staggering figure, however with a lesser impact on lung, breast, and prostate cancer. The leader of the research was quoted as saying “the evidence is that everyone between 50 and 65 should consider taking daily aspirin.”