Womens Health

An Aspirin A Day Keeps Cancer Away

According to the latest research published in the British Medical Journal, The Lancet, a daily low-dose aspirin (75mg) can reduce your risk of dying of cancer by 21%.

The study, headed by Professor Peter Rothwell of the Department of Clinical Neurology at Oxford University, in Britain, shows that even though aspirin can cause stomach bleeding, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. As aspirin can also protect against heart attacks, it makes sense to ask your family doctor for advice as to whether you can benefit from taking these low-dose aspirin pills.

Long Term Use

However, you won't see the benefits straight away. It seems that the longer you take aspirin the better the benefits. The research study indicates that people who start to take aspirin in their late 40's or early 50's and continue for the next 20 years have a slow build up of protection. After 5 years of taking their daily dose, deaths from cancer fell overall by 34%, while deaths from gastrointestinal cancers fell by 35%. By the time someone has taken aspirin for 20 years cancer rates have fallen by 30% for lung cancer, 40% for bowel cancer and 60% for esophagus cancer.

Women's Cancers

The protection for women and men seems to be the same for the same types of cancer, and for protection against heart disease and heart attacks. However, the jury is still out as far as specific women's cancers are concerned. According to research, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, conducted by Margaret A. Gates, Sc.D, of Harvard Medical School, low-dose aspirin may help post-menopausal women. Aspirin appears to help lower the estrogen levels in women who are past the menopause, which can help decrease a woman's chance of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

Breast Cancer Survivors

Although more research on the benefits of aspirin in preventing women's cancers is needed, research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, in February 2010, shows that aspirin can help prevent the reoccurence of breast cancer. This research conducted by Michelle Holmes MD, DrPH, Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Harvard Medical School, as part of the Nurses' Health Study. The research shows that breast cancer survivors who took low-doses of aspirin were 50% less likely to die or have a reocurrence of the disease than women who didn't. However, doctors urge caution, as there may be other factors involved.
If you are under treatment for breast cancer or are in remission ask your oncology specialists for their advice, as aspirin, even at a very low dose may be contra-indicted in your situation.

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