British Study: Aspirin Regimen Can Prevent Cancer Deaths

By:  Warren Mass
08/06/2014
       
British Study: Aspirin Regimen Can Prevent Cancer Deaths

In a new analysis of hundreds of previous studies, scientists from Queen Mary University of London recently concluded that if people between the ages of 50 and 65 were to take a low dose of aspirin daily, they could prevent up to one third of cancers of the bowel, throat, and stomach, and cut the risk of dying in half, in some cases.

The study recommended that those in the designated age range take a low-dose (75 to 100 milligrams) of aspirin daily for ten years, and predicted this practice would save 6,518 lives from cancer per year, along with preventing 474 fatal heart attacks. Over 20 years, the net number of lives saved in the UK would be almost 122,000, the researchers found.

Professor Jack Cuzick, head of the center for cancer prevention at Queen Mary University, reported in a review in the Annals of Oncology journal that the evidence showed that the benefits were not apparent during the first three years of the aspirin regimen, and death rates were only reduced after five years.

“Our study shows that if everyone aged between 50 and 65 started taking aspirin daily for at least 10 years, there would be a 9 per cent reduction in the number of cancers, strokes and heart attacks overall in men, and around 7 per cent in women,” Cuzick said in a statement about the research quoted in the Times of India. 

The researchers cautioned, however, that taking daily aspirin would cause an additional 896 deaths from stroke, stomach bleeding, and ulcers. Despite that risk, however, the study found that the benefits of taking aspirin outweighed the potential ill effects.

Cuzick noted: 

Whilst there are some serious side effects that can’t be ignored, taking aspirin daily 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.

The wise person would do both, improve their lifestyle and take aspirin but you can’t improve your lifestyle to the point that aspirin isn’t necessary.

If the odds of preventing a death are substantially bigger than causing a death, then I think it is a good bet and at this stage we feel aspirin is a good bet.

Low-dose aspirin is usually packaged in 81 mg doses in the United States, and is marketed as part of a daily regimen to reduce the risk of heat attacks, by preventing the formation of clots that block blood flow to the heart. This dosage was previously marketed as “children’s” or “baby” aspirin, until 1986, when the FDA required labeling on all aspirin-containing medications advising against its use in children and teenagers because of the possible risk of its contribution to Reye’s syndrome.

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