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Daily Aspirin and Cancer

Posted 4/1/2015

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  Should or should you not be taking a daily aspirin? The answer seems to be: "Probably, but check first with your doctor." We have known for a long time that a daily aspirin can reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks, and the evidence is piling up that it may also reduce cancer risks and deaths. The "ask your doctor" part is important because some people have other medical problems that would make this an unwise or even dangerous practice.

  This is the start of a column from The Wall Street Journal about the use of aspirin.

Should All Adults Take a Daily Aspirin?

The medical guidelines surrounding aspirin therapy can be confusing.
Most doctors agree that an aspirin a day is a good idea for people who already have had a heart attack or
stroke, but opinions differ on who, if anyone, should take aspirin to prevent a problem from happening in
the first place, a use known as primary prevention.
The controversy centers on the painkiller’s blood-thinning properties: While studies have shown that
aspirin offers protective benefits against cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, they also have shown
that aspirin use can cause bleeding in the stomach and brain.
The question is, do the benefits outweigh the risks for generally healthy people?
The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t think so. Some researchers, however, believe the tide will turn
in aspirin’s favor once the growing body of cancer evidence is fully evaluated.
Jack Cuzick, director of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Queen Mary University of
London, argues in favor of general aspirin use, saying the benefit far outweighs the risks; Lianne Marks,
assistant dean for educational development and regional chairwoman for internal medicine at Texas A&M
Health Science Center College of Medicine, believes the risks are just too great.
YES: The Evidence Is Clear It Reduces Deaths From Cancer

read more:

And from the Komen Foundation:

For a medication that’s been around in one form or another for over 2,000 years, aspirin still has a surprising way of grabbing headlines. Once used mainly for pain relief, fever and heart attacks, aspirin has now broken into the realm of cancer prevention. A string of scientific papers have recently been published focusing on aspirin’s potential to lower the risk of cancer and improve survival after cancer.

So far, the best data on these benefits come from colon cancer studies, but evidence is growing for other cancers, including breast cancer.


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