Aspirin trials suggest possible effective role against cancer

Aspirin is an age-old drug that keeps getting a second look, and this time for its potential cancer benefits. While the anti-inflammatory has been around since 1897, new evidence suggests that over-the-counter aspirin may be an overlooked weapon in the battle against cancer.

Aspirin has been known to carry potential cardiac benefits, but several new studies suggest that taking one every day can also reduce a person’s risk for cancer, or prevent the disease from spreading in those who are already affected.

“We’re not quite ready to recommend routine aspirin use in those diagnosed with cancer,” says Dr. Kevin Choe, an oncologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “It is premature to say that aspirin should be used in a standard-therapy way in all patients with cancer. But the results are encouraging.”

Researchers at the University of Oxford have reported that after three years of daily aspirin use, study participants had a risk reduction of almost 25 percent of developing cancer when compared to a control group not taking aspirin. After five years, the risk of dying of cancer was reduced by 37 percent for those taking aspirin.

Daily aspirin use also reduced the risk of cancer metastasizing, particularly in patients with colorectal cancer, the studies reported.

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