An Aspirin a Day
Some months ago, I shared information from several newly released studies that suggested that a daily aspirin seemed to lower the risk of a cancer diagnosis and/or a cancer death. Those studies did not identify the proper aspirin dose, but did recommend the obvious and important caveat to speak with your doctor before taking a daily pill. The largest risk reduction (40 percent) was cancers of the GI tract. A new study, just released, confirms the big picture and emphasizes the importance of balancing risks vs. benefits. Aspirin IS a drug even though many of us don't think of it in quite the same way that we consider prescription medications.
It has long been known that a daily aspirin reduces the risk of strokes and has some other health benefits. This reinforces that concept, but does also reinforce the cautionary tales. For those of us who are always looking for something else we can do to maximize the chances of staying healthy, this surely is worth considering -- as long as we talk to our doctors first.
Here is the beginning of a summary from MedScape and then a link to read more:
An Aspirin a Day Lowers Cancer Mortality, New Data Confirm
Results from a new study support the daily use aspirin to help prevent death from cancer.
However, questions remain about the size of the potential benefit, lead author Eric J. Jacobs, MD, from the American Cancer Society (ACS) in Atlanta, Georgia, told Medscape Medical News.
"We were prompted to do the study because a recent analysis pooling results from existing randomized trials of daily aspirin for the prevention of vascular events found an estimated 37% reduction in cancer mortality among those using aspirin for 5 years or more [Lancet. 2012;379:1602-1612]," Dr. Jacobs said. "But uncertainty remains about how much daily aspirin use may lower cancer mortality. The size of this pooled analysis was limited, and 2 very large randomized trials of aspirin taken every other day found no effect on overall cancer mortality," he explained.
To clarify how much daily aspirin use might lower the risk for fatal cancer, Dr. Jacobs and his colleagues analyzed information from 100,139 predominantly elderly participants in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort who reported using aspirin on questionnaires.
The study was published online August 10 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Read more (free registration required) »