A recent long-standing study (precisely 32 years in the making) conducted by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has shown that a common over-the-counter drug could reduce the risk of death in certain cancer patients. What is this mystery miracle drug, you ask? It’s aspirin!
It’s a medication that’s typically associated with relieving tension headaches and toothache pain. But, it also plays a vital role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke in middle-aged adults.
New Potential Miracle Effect of Aspirin
You won’t believe it, but it’s true! A low-dose (about 81 milligrams) of aspirin taken daily by patients suffering from lung, prostate, and breast cancer could significantly reduce their risk of cancer mortality.
Yin Cao (MPH, ScD), an instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, led the three-decade-long study. Based on the findings of the study, the USPSTF strongly recommends that men and women between the ages of 50 and 70 consider talking to their doctors about taking a low daily dose of aspirin to help ward off colorectal cancer in addition to various forms of heart disease.
Cao presented her findings at the 2017 American Association for Cancer Research meeting in Washington, D.C. on April 3.
Study: Effects of Aspirin on Cancer Sufferers
- From 1980 to 2012 and 1986 to 2012, over 86,000 women and over 43,000 men took part in the study respectively.
- Approximately 8,200 of those women and 4,600 of those men succumbed to cancer during the 32-year period .
- The doses of aspirin taken by participants in the study ranged from 0.5 to seven tablets per week. So not everyone took it daily, but researchers observed benefits at all dose levels.
- Based on the data, the risk of cancer-related death was reduced by seven percent for women who took aspirin regularly and 15% for men who did the same.
Speak to Your Doctor First
Of course, I have to stress the part about talking to your doctor before making any drastic changes to your daily medical routine. As with any major lifestyle change, there are significant potential risks involved, and the stipulations are very specific. Moreover, the lead author of the study, noted that there is still much more research required, as the study is still relatively new.
Even though it’s possible that a low daily dose of aspirin under the supervision of your doctor could lower the risk of developing both colorectal cancer and heart disease, this solution might not be suitable for everyone. People who are already at high risk of gastrointestinal problems and ulcers should most likely avoid this treatment. And, in some cases, this method could even increase the risk of stomach and brain hemorrhaging. But, this depends on your previous medical history, whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions, or if you’re on other medications that might interact negatively with aspirin.
This is a fascinating revelation, and it’s worth exploring further with your doctor, especially if you’ve recently been diagnosed with any of the above-mentioned types of cancer.
Christensen, J., “Low-dose aspirin can reduce risk of death from cancer, research says,” CNN, April 5, 2017; http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/03/health/aspirin-fight-cancer-death-study/index.html, last accessed April 12, 2017.
Norton, A., “Can daily low-dose aspirin lower cancer death risk?” Medical Press, April 3, 2017; https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-04-daily-low-dose-aspirin-cancer-death.html, last accessed April 12, 2017.
“Regular Aspirin Use is Associated with Lower Cancer Mortality,” American Association for Cancer Research press release, April 3, 2017; http://www.aacr.org/Newsroom/Pages/News-Release-Detail.aspx?ItemID=1036#.WO5R7vnyvIV, last accessed April 12, 2017.
“Aspirin to Reduce Cancer Risk,” National Cancer Institute; https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/research/aspirin-cancer-risk, last accessed April 12, 2017.