Taking aspirin every day may significantly reduce the risk of many cancers and prevent tumours from spreading.
The findings in two new British studies published on Tuesday add to evidence suggesting that aspirin may be a powerful if overlooked weapon against cancer. But the research also poses difficult questions for doctors and public health officials, as regular doses of aspirin can cause gastrointestinal bleeding and other side effects.
Researchers at the University of Oxford found that after three years of daily aspirin, the risk of developing cancer was reduced by almost 25 per cent, compared with a control group not taking aspirin. After five years, the risk of dying of cancer was reduced by 37 per cent among those taking aspirin.
A second paper analysing five large studies in Britain found that over six and a years on average, daily aspirin use reduced the risk of cancer spreading to other parts of the body by 36 per cent, and the risk of adenocarcinomas – common solid cancers including colon, lung and prostate cancer – by forty-six per cent.
“In terms of prevention, anyone with a family history would be sensible to take aspirin,” said study leader Peter Rothwell.
- New York Times