Does aspirin cut cancer risk?
“A daily dose of the ‘wonder drug’ aspirin is the simplest way to avoid dying from the most common cancers,” says the Daily Express.
This news story is based on a study of data from eight clinical trials in more than 25,000 people, which recorded daily aspirin use and deaths from cancer. In total, there were 674 deaths from cancer during the studies’ follow-up periods. People taking aspirin were less likely to die from cancer than those who weren’t taking aspirin.
Overall, this study was well-conducted and its findings will probably be taken into account with other evidence in the next review of the clinical guidance for cancer prevention. On its own, however, the study does not present strong enough evidence for aspirin to be universally recommended. This is because long-term aspirin is associated with a risk of internal bleeding, particularly in the elderly. Different people may also have different levels of benefit.
People who want to start taking aspirin should speak to their GP first. Importantly, the doses examined here were low, at only 75mg a day, which is a quarter of what over-the-counter pills for pain relief contain.
Source NHS Choices www.nhs.uk December 2010