Thursday, August 23, 2012

Daily Aspirin Dose Cuts Cancer Risk, New Study Says

A new study suggests that those people who take a low-dose aspirin on a daily basis lower their risks of dying from cancer over a number of years. This newest study finds that risks of dying of cancer are up to 16 percent lower when people took an aspirin every day for an extended period of time.

More specifically, the 16 percent figure reflects an average of all types of cancer. In cases of oesophageal, stomach and colorectal cancer there was a drop in deaths from the disease of about 40 percent, the Raw Story notes. But deaths from other types of cancer not linked to the digestive system still dropped by about 12 percent, which means that an overall 16 percent may be a promising lead in preventative cancer measures.

Original research published back in March by Oxford University researcher Peter Rothwell had originally presented a much more optimistic finding about aspirin’s effect on mortality rates. In that study, he reported that those who took aspirin daily for three years could cut their risk of cancer by 25 percent. This newest study demotes that number to a much more modest figure with variable effects.

This newest study, led by Eric Jacobs, looked at just over 100,000 men and women who had no prior history of cancer. Of course, a myriad of variables play into how the aspirin works. For example, the drug did not reduce lung cancer among smokers because that activity cancels out any positive effects of an aspirin regimen.

Researchers remain wary of using aspirin purely as a cancer prevention treatment at the present moment until further research has been conducted, notes the Telegraph. A great many mysteries remain about how and why aspirin has this effect on the body. Some scientists suggest that it reduces inflammation, and may even help stop cancer cells from sticking to blood platelets.

Although the study shows a general trend, aspirin also comes with other side effects because it is a blood thinner and can cause episodes of bleeding in the stomach, especially in older patients. The mysterious effects of aspirin and the potential harms still need further research in order to flesh out how it may become an effective measure in the fight against cancer.

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