Daily pill for middle-aged could save 130,000 lives over 20 years in Britain alone, scientists suggest
A research team led by Professor Jack Cuzick, head of the centre for cancer prevention at Queen Mary University of London, concluded that people between 50 and 65 should consider regularly taking daily aspirin to reduce cancer risk.
Cuzick said that taking aspirin "looks to be the most important thing we can do to reduce cancer after stopping smoking and reducing obesity, and will probably be much easier to implement". However, to obtain the newfound benefits of the drug, people would have to take aspirin for at least five years and probably ten, the review said.
Cuzick's team, writing in the cancer journal Annals of Oncology, said that by taking low-dose aspirin every day for ten years, bowel cancer cases could be cut by about 35% and deaths by 40%. Aspirin could reduce rates of oesophageal and stomach cancers by 30% and deaths from them by 35% to 50%.
Taking aspirin every day increases the risk of stomach bleeds. Aspirin is already given to some people to reduce their risk of heart attacks or ischemic stroke, caused by blood clots, which it does by thinning the blood. But it is likely to worsen a haemorrhagic stroke, caused by bleeding in the brain.
It is believed that aspirin may reduce the risk of cancer due to its ability to reduce inflammation, and by thinning the blood thereby making it more difficult for cancer cells to adhere to blood platelets.
You can also read more about aspirin in a recent Consumer Update published at the FDA’s own website – http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm390539.htm , where they state – “after carefully examining scientific data from major studies, FDA has concluded that the data do not support the use of aspirin as a preventive medication by people who have not had a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular problems, a use that is called "primary prevention." In such people, the benefit has not been established but risks—such as dangerous bleeding into the brain or stomach—are still present.”
As with any medication it is important to do your own further investigation, consult with your chosen health professional, and bear in mind that adding any medication to an unhealthy lifestyle and diet still results in an unhealthy lifestyle and diet. Always make decisions only after you have become well-informed.