New Study Shows Benefits to Aspirin

A new study released today indicates in its findings that Aspirin may actually be beneficial to patients. There has been a lot of speculation and controversy on this topic in the past. Experts have now declared, for the first time, that the benefits of taking aspirin to prevent some types of cancer outweigh the harms. The findings of the study state: “For average-risk individuals aged 50–65 years taking aspirin for 10 years, there would be a relative reduction of between 7% (women) and 9% (men) in the number of cancer, myocardial infarction or stroke events over a 15-year period and an overall 4% relative reduction in all deaths over a 20-year period.”[1] The study does note that there will need to be more research to determine the dosage needed and duration of usage in order for the true benefits of aspirin to completely documented and understood.

Jack Cuzick, PhD, head of the Centre for Cancer Prevention at Queen Mary’s University of London in the United Kingdom released a statement and said, “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.”[2] Dr. Cuzick was also quoted as stating that, “It has long been known that aspirin — one of the cheapest and most common drugs on the market — can protect against certain types of cancer. But until our study, where we analyzed all the available evidence, it was unclear whether the pros of taking aspirin outweighed the cons.”

The study found 30% to 35% decreased risk of developing colorectal cancer with aspirin use, and a 35% to 40% decreased risk of dying from this cancer. In addition the study showed a 45% to 50% decreased risk of dying from esophageal cancer, and a 35% to 40% decreased risk of dying from stomach cancer. Smaller effects of an aspirin regimen were found for breast, prostate, and lung cancer. The benefits of taking aspirin started to take place around 3 years after starting use. Death rates began to decrease after 5 years, and daily doses from 75 to 100 mg were linked to beneficial effects.

The most serious harm with aspirin use was stroke, which was rare. Bleeding outside the brain was more common. Chronic aspirin use was linked to a 60% to 70% increase in the risk of dying from digestive tract bleeding. The rates of developing and dying from digestive tract complications were low for those younger than 70 years, but showed a steady increase for patients older than 70.



[1] Cuzick, J and others. Estimates of benefits and harms of prophylactic use of aspirin in the general population. Annals of Oncology. August 2014.

[2] Hackethal, Veronica M.D., Aspirin Daily to Keep Cancer Away: Benefits Outweigh Harms. Medscape Medical News. August 6th, 2014.

 

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