Update on Aspirin
Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile will remember an earlier series of entries about the possible value of daily aspirin in risk reduction both for a diagnosis and a recurrence of cancer. I had not seen much about this for a while until this article from Medscape crossed my desk. There seem to be two important points in this article: the benefits from daily aspirin are very long-term and may not show for at least five years. And, relevant for us: there may be as much as a 20 percent reduction in breast cancer recurrence rates. I, at least, think this is fabulous news. If this holds up, it is one more thing that we can do to help ourselves after finishing treatment. The short list would include (now) daily aspirin, regular exercise, weight control, moderate alcohol use. This are all things which seem manageable, and I, for one, am trying.
You already know that aspirin has proven benefits in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. You also know that aspirin has some risks for some people and that you need to speak with your doctor before beginning a program of daily usage.
Here is the beginning and then a link:
Update on Aspirin and Cancer Prevention
Jack Cuzick, PhD
We were very interested in the role of aspirin in preventing cancer. We did a consensus statement about 2 years ago in which we said the data looked very promising, but what was needed was longer follow-up of the ongoing trials. Much of that has now taken place, and some new results have come out, so the results look even more promising.
What is particularly clear is that the effect of aspirin on prevention is a long-term effect and that not very much happens in the 5 years after you start taking aspirin. The preventive effects are really quite long-term; that is very important in terms of how it should be used, if you are going to need to start 5 years before there is going to be any benefit.
There have been 2 recent papers. One was on patients with Lynch syndrome, which puts them at high risk for colorectal and a few other cancers. That was a trial of both starch and aspirin, and the initial results when they were published a few years ago were actually negative for both of these. There was no effect at all, and now with additional follow-up, we have seen what was seen in many other studies or was emerging in many other studies: that the effects take a long time to kick in, so ...
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