Should You Start Taking a Daily Aspirin to Reduce the Chance of Cancer?

Study: a daily aspirin reduces the chances of cancer in older adults between the ages of 50 and 65
When people think about the benefits of a daily low-dose aspirin regimen, they usually associate it with helping prevent the risk of heart disease. While there is ample evidence that it can help in this area, that may not be all it’s good for. A recent large-scale scientific review on the benefits of low-dose aspirin indicates it dramatically decreases the odds of getting colon, esophageal and stomach cancers in older adults.

The study of past research found adults between the ages of 50 and 65 who took a daily low-dose (approximately 75 mg.) aspirin over a ten-year period ended up cutting the chance of colon cancer by 35%, and decreasing the chance of dying from colon cancer by 40%. For esophageal cancer, a daily aspirin over the same period of time reduced the chances by 30%, and death by esophageal cancer by 35%. That same daily low-dose aspirin reduced the chance of stomach cancer by 30%, and death by stomach cancer by 50%. The researchers also found there was some “limited” evidence that taking aspirin on a daily basis could reduce the chances of breast, lung, and prostate cancers.

What does all this mean? If all adults between the ages of 50 and 65 took a low-dose aspirin daily for 10 years, research indicates as many as 122,000 deaths could be prevented over a 20-year period. The period lasts longer than the 10 years taking the aspirin because of continued benefits people receive even after they stopped taking a daily dose.

Unfortunately, the benefits of daily taking aspirin don’t immediately begin with the first one taken. In fact, the research showed it took three years for the reductions benefits to take effect. It took five years of daily intake for the researchers to see a reduction in death rates.

Due to the long periods of time the aspirin must be taken, there are some downsides. This included bleeding from stomach and peptic ulcers in those who took aspirin over a five-year period. Still, the researchers believe the benefits outweigh the risks for those between the ages of 50 and 65, but not those older than that. The researchers also found that the risk of stomach bleeding dramatically increases in adults 70 years old and older.

The researchers also made the point that the research doesn’t indicate that aspirin prevents cancer itself, but there is a strong association between taking aspirin and a decrease in the rates of certain types of cancers. The researchers feel that while this isn’t enough to tell everybody between the ages of 50 and 65 to begin taking low-dose aspirin on a daily basis, it does provide enough information that older adults should, at the very least, have a conversation with their doctor on whether or not it’s a good idea in their particular case.

As with any change in medicines being consumed, you should consult your doctor before beginning a daily low dose aspirin regimen, and not simply make the decision on your own.

(Photo courtesy of fihu)

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2 Responses to Should You Start Taking a Daily Aspirin to Reduce the Chance of Cancer?

  1. daniel says:

    Aspirin really is a wonder drug. I take it to prevent heart disease under doctor’s orders and it’s good to know it’s doing even more good.

  2. Sandra says:

    I’m allergic to Aspirin. My daughters and grandkids can not take it.

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