An aspirin pill every day could reduce the risk of developing fatal bowel or stomach cancer, according to an analysis of previous studies.
Aspirin may reduce cancer deaths
Scientists have predicted that more than 120,000 deaths could be prevented over the next two decades if everyone aged 50 and above took aspirin for ten years.
The report was compiled by the Queen Mary University of London and is published in the Annals of Oncology. Researchers investigated more than 200 studies on the benefits of aspirin and its potential harms.
They found that the drug reduced the number of incidents and fatalities of bowel, stomach and oesophageal cancer by about a third. Data on other forms of cancer such as breast and lung was more variable and not as conclusive. The drug would need to be taken for more than five years for the benefits to be effective.
The research was led by Professor Jack Cuzick from Queen Mary University of London and he encourages health person older than 50 to begin a small dose of aspirin (75mg) on a daily basis.
The study claims that for every 1,000 people who took the drug aged over 60 in the next ten years there would be 16 fewer cancer deaths, one less heart attack but an additional two deaths from bleeding.
Prof Cuzick, who has been taking a daily dose of aspirin for four years, said: "Whilst there are some serious side-effects that can't be ignored, taking aspirin daily looks to be the most important thing we can do to reduce cancer after stopping smoking and reducing obesity, and will probably be much easier to implement."
Aspirin can induce dangerous side-effects such as bleeding in the stomach and the brain but deaths incurred by these side effects are usually outweighed by lives saved. It has been estimated that whilst 18,000 deaths may occur from taking aspirin, 122,000 lives could be saved.
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© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2014