We have all heard that one baby aspirin a day can help prevent a heart attack and people everywhere and from all walks of life subscribe to the commonly recommended protocol on a regular basis. Now there is even more evidence appearing on the horizon for expanded potential of that daily routine.
Though proof is still to come, three new studies, published by the British medical journal, The Lancet, are contributing to this hypothesis.
The Oxford University study found that those taking a small does (75 – 300 mg) daily of aspirin were at lower risk of a heart attack. Of that group, 23 percent, over a period of three years, were less likely to develop cancer than non-aspirin takers. Professor Peter Rothwell emphasized that bowel cancer in particular showed signs of reduced risk. When taken over five years, 37 percent of those in the study had a lower rate of total cancer. The longer patients stayed on aspirin the greater the decrease of the risk of death from cancer. In the aspirin taking group, of 1000 cases of cancer each year, there were nine cancer cases. That compares to the 12 per 1000 in the group taking a placebo.
Though not conclusive, lung cancer in women, as published in the journal Lung Cancer, had a lower risk of developing in women who took aspirin a couple times during the week. This finding was without regard to whether the person had been a smoker or not. Among smokers, there was a 62 percent lower risk. Those women who have never smoked reduced their risk by 50 percent.
In another study, metastasis or spread of cancer was closely observed. It showed that patients who had cancer and were taking an aspirin a day could potentially reduce the metastasizing risk. Of all the findings, this is probably the most significant if it holds because “no drug has been shown before to prevent distant metastasis” according to Professor Rothwell. And it is the metastasis that most likely kills the patient.
As reported by Reuters, Harvard’s Andrew Chan weighed in to say that the evidence on aspirin and lung cancer remains mixed. He reminds everyone that still the best way to minimize lung cancer risk is to not smoke. However, regarding colon cancer, this gastroenterology specialist believes in the strong evidence coming forth in favor of aspirin protecting against this disease yet feels it is too soon to be conclusive.
In all of this, however, the downside of recommending daily aspirin is the enhanced risk of internal bleeding. Until more is known and studies are more conclusive, doctors are cautious in making a broad recommendation for use as a cancer preventive treatment.
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LouAnn Savage is publisher and editor of The Weekly Healthline, an online health and lifestyle publication. Subscribe free at: http://www.HealthFitforLife.com. Follow her on twitter @louannsavage and join her at http://Facebook.com/louannsavage. She is an Asea distributor.