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An aspirin a day cuts bowel cancer death risk by a third

Published on 25/04/2012

Yet more evidence has emerged that an aspirin a day keeps the doctor away- a new study shows that a daily aspirin can cut cancer death risk.

A study in the British Journal of Cancer has found that bowel cancer patients who take a daily aspirin could cut their chance of dying from the disease by around a third.


Aspirin can cut the risk of dying from bowel cancer by a third

Researchers looked at 4,500 bowel cancer patients living in the Netherlands for nearly a decade. A quarter of the patients did not use aspirin at all, and a quarter took aspirin after diagnosis. The remaining half took it both before and after their diagnosis.

The study found that taking aspirin for any length of time after diagnosis cut the chance of dying from bowel cancer by 23 per cent. Those who took a daily dose of aspirin for at least nine months after diagnosis cut their chance of dying by 30 per cent.

Interestingly, taking aspirin only after the diagnosis of bowel cancer had a bigger impact on reducing mortality. This may be because those who took aspirin and still developed bowel cancer had a particular aggressive form of the disease.

In England, bowel cancer is the third most common type of cancer. An estimated 38,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Around 80% of people diagnosed with bowel cancer are over 60. Lead researcher Dr Gerrit-Jan Liefers, of the Leiden University Medical Centre, said:

"Our work adds to growing evidence that aspirin not only can prevent cancer from occurring but if it is there it can help prevent it spreading."

However, experts say that it is too soon to start routinely offering aspirin for bowel cancer, because of the possible side effects like irritation of the stomach lining and internal bleeds.

Dr Gerrit-Jan Liefers said aspirin should not be seen as an alternative to other treatments, such as chemotherapy, but could be a useful additional treatment.

Other evidence already suggests that aspirin may prevent certain cancers from developing in the first place, as well as slowing down or preventing cancer from spreading.

If you want to be covered for bowel cancer treatment on your private medical insurance then make sure you compare health insurance policies with full cancer cover.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012


Categories:  Health
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