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Daily Dose of Aspirin Can Lower Risk of Cancer

Posted on Dec 08, 2010 by Sergio Ulloa ()

The results of a major study undertaken by UK-based universities, the Kumamato University in Japan and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Diseases into the scope for prevention of cancers were released on the 7th of December 2010. Research has revealed that a regular small daily dose of aspirin can dramatically reduce the death rate from a broad range of cancers. The research conducted provided evidence that low doses of aspirin taken on a daily basis over a five year period can cut fatalities by between 10 and 60 percent depending on the type of cancer being suffered. The Lancet published findings of the study carried out at Oxford, Edinburgh and Dundee Universities in the UK, the Kumamato University in Japan and the London School of Hygiene which involved 25,570 patients. The findings indicated that a dose of 75mg of aspirin taken each day can cut cancer deaths by as much as a fifth. The study undertaken over several years - averaging a four year period - found that aspirin lowered the risk of death from cancer by as much as 25 percent and produced a reduction of 10 percent in deaths of patients who took regular doses of aspirin compared to those participants who did not take aspirin. Patients participating in the studied were tested for between 4 to 8 years. Among the types of cancer included in the findings, aspirin reduced deaths from bowel cancer by 40 percent, lung cancer by 30 percent and prostate cancer by 10 percent. The results suggest that overall the risk of death from cancer could fall by 20 percent over a 20 year period. The findings for stomach, brain and pancreatic cancers were inconclusive due to the numbers of deaths recorded over the study period. Also, because there were only a small number of women taking part in the trials, the effectiveness of aspirin on the mortality rate of such cancers as ovarian and breast cancer could not be concluded due to a lack of data recorded. Further large scale trials are being carried out to investigate if aspirin can be effective with these types of cancers. Although there is the associated risk of internal bleeding related to aspirin when taken frequently, experts say the benefits of regular doses eclipse the inherent risks. Roughly 1 in 1000 people are at risk of major internal bleeding, with the figure doubling when aspirin is taken regularly. While medical professionals state that the fatal risk of internal bleeding in middle aged people is low, the danger does increase radically when a person enters their 70's. Aspirin is already a recommended medication for people who are at risk of heart related illness. With millions of people already taking aspirin to protect against strokes and heart attacks, together with being prescribed for help with dementia and to pregnant women suffering from pains, aspirin has been established as a cost efficient, readily available medication. However, while aspirin is a recognized treatment for reducing the risks from heart attacks and strokes among those at increased risk, protection against cardiovascular disease is considered to be small for healthy adults compared to the downside risk of aspirin causing stomach and gut bleeding. The report highlights the recommendation that any person wishing to take aspirin on a regular basis consults with a doctor before embarking on this course of action. Although aspirin is not a cure or a guaranteed preventive measure for cancer, it can be viewed as a progressive step in the fight against the disease in the same manner as regular exercise and sensible eating keep a person healthy. A significant benefit of aspirin as a treatment in the fight against cancer is the low cost of this form of medication compared to the predominantly high cost of traditional medications. The initial studies indicate the positive results of regular doses of aspirin in the treatment of various forms of cancer which, in addition to health benefits, could be a major breakthrough in reducing the cost of treatment for this illness worldwide. The original studies were commissioned to examine the potential effects aspirin could have on cardiovascular disease, which evolved into the benefits aspirin can have on guarding against different forms of cancer. The trials did also look at the impact higher doses of aspirin can have on reducing the risk of cancer, but there were no additional benefits reported. The recently release findings on the benefits of regular doses of aspirin follow a earlier publication by The Lancet in October 2010, which reported research found aspirin could reduce the risk of bowel cancer by approximately a third. The evidence gathered from the trials suggests that it is believed to be more beneficial for a person in the 40 -50 age range to start taking aspirin on a daily basis - before an increased risk from cancer occurs - for a regular period of 20-30 years in order to maximize measures in guarding against cancers.
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