Many studies have shown that aspirin can be beneficial for many health issues such as back pain, headaches, fevers, muscle pain and much more. But now more and more experts are saying that taking aspirin every day is also helpful in preventing certain cancers. The research on whether aspirin can help in preventing cancer first started around 2002 and now experts say they have a growing body of evidence supporting their theory.

Time magazine reports on the helpfulness of aspirin.

New research shows that an aspirin every day can actually help fend off some cancers, mainly cancers that develop in one’s digestive tract.

How was the study conducted?

The researchers used their study, published in the journal Annals of Oncology, to review research on the dangers of taking aspirin for preventative uses. The experts found that taking aspirin daily for around ten years could truncate cases of bowel cancer by 35% and deaths by 40%. Certain cancers, such as Esophageal and stomach cancers, were actually decreased by 30% with death risk lowered by around a whopping 35-50%.

What were the results?

“They found that patients between the ages of 50 and 65 got a benefit if they took a daily dose of aspirin for at least five years. No benefit was seen during the first three years,” according to Time.

What other benefits does aspirin have?

It has also actually been proven that aspirin can decrease the risks of blood clots and heart attacks, but the danger of heightened risk of stomach bleeding has some medical experts questioning the advantage of taking an aspirin on a daily basis. The experts involved in the new study point out that the danger only applies to a tiny percentage of people who will take the aspirin.

CBS news also reported on the benefits of aspirin in preventing cancer. CBS experts looked at the study and found that the analysis that 75 to 80mg of aspirin a day significantly lowers the risk of cancer is quite accurate.

Dr. Agus, CBS medical expert, told the ‘CBS This Morning’ co-hosts that the pill is most likely to help if taken on a long-term basis.

Dr. Agus said, “At year five, the benefits dramatically outweigh the risk, and it continues on where the benefits grow and grow. So if you take aspirin for 20 years, there's a dramatic reduction in the overall death rate of people compared to the people who didn't take aspirin.”

CBS experts found that aspirin is effective against cancer because it is an anti-inflammatory. The study’s researchers had the same theory.

Older people have a higher risk of getting cancer based on a number of factors and particular types of cancer.

So, does aspirin help their age group?

People around the age of 60 do benefit from a daily dose of aspirin. But at the same time, experts found that a daily aspirin regimen for ten years heightens the danger of acquiring stomach bleeding from 2.2 percent to 3.6 percent. While this risk is miniscule Dr. Agus advises patients get the clearance needed from their physician before adding the pill to their daily regimen.

Dr. Agus told CBS news; “We think the daily dose is something that lowers or tempers the inflammation, reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease over time. Doctors really need to talk to their patients. It's not for everybody. If you have upset stomach or bleeding, it's probably not for you.”

He also found that women should start taking aspirin daily later in life than men even though the benefits are the same for men and women between the ages of 50 to 65. Why? “Women get heart disease a little later and cancer a little later. So while it's beneficial in both, the recommendations are starting it a little later in women than in men,” according to Agus.

Aspirin has been particularly linked to preventing colorectal cancer and even more surprisingly breast cancer. Being that breast cancer is a major problem and killer for American women experts are suggesting that women with a genetic predisposition to breast cancer take the aspirin a day regimen particularly seriously and ask their doctor about it. An aspirin a day could possibly save their life.

Aspirin could also possibly prevent lung cancer. Lung cancer and breast cancer have been neck in neck since the 1980s in leading causes of death of women. There are a couple hundred thousand new cases of lung cancer in women every year. While lung cancer cases have certainly declined since the 1960s when the federal government started to warn against smoking, people still smoke and lung cancer is a problem. So people with a genetic predisposition to lung cancer or who smoke could ask their doctors about undertaking an aspirin regimen. 

Gerry Oginski
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