Aspirin is not only an effective painkiller, it is thought to help fight conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke to migraine headache and high blood pressure in pregnancy. Some studies have suggested it can double the chances of a successful IVF pregnancy while others have suggested it may even block the spread of certain viruses.
Now, researchers at Oxford University have found that a daily aspirin tablet may help to prevent both bowel cancer and bowel cancer deaths.
The study followed over 14,000 patients for a period of 20 years. The results, published in the current edition of The Lancet, show that low-dose aspirin reduced the risk of the incidence of bowel cancer by 24% and of dying from the disease by 35%.
“Aspirin taken for several years at doses of at least 75mg daily reduced long-term incidence and mortality due to colorectal cancer. Benefit was greatest for cancers of the proximal colon, which are not otherwise prevented effectively by screening with sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.” concluded the study authors.
The findings build on previous research on the issue and offer great hope for individuals with a high risk of bowel cancer, such as those with obesity or a family history of the disease.
One in 20 people in the US develops bowel cancer over their lifetime, making it the third most common cancer. Current figures from the National Cancer Institute indicate that there are more than 140,000 new cases of bowel cancer diagnosed in the US each year and more than 50,000 deaths.
Mark Flannagan, Chief Executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said the study provided very positive findings. “This was a big study over a long period of time and reinforces the message that aspirin may be important in significantly reducing the number of cases and deaths from bowel cancer.”
Aspirin is already one of the most widely used medications in the world. An estimated 40,000 tons of it are consumed worldwide, each year. SRxA’s Word on Health wonders just how much more will be sold as a result of this.
Let us know your thoughts.