Daily dose of aspirin could avert cancer

By Shayna Brouker • Published: June 5th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

It’s known to soothe headaches, keep heart attacks and stroke at bay and even help heal the heart after cardiac arrest. But can aspirin cure cancer? New research from the University of Oxford shows a daily dose of aspirin might not only reduce the risk of developing a slew of cancers, but could even shrink the chances that these diseases will spread.

A recent study found that patients who regularly pop a low-dose aspirin had a nearly 25 percent less risk of developing cancer than people who did not take aspirin. Down the road, that statistic made for a 15 percent decreased risk of dying from cancer. Folks who were still taking aspirin five years later had a 37 percent reduced risk of death. Other studies have shown that taking aspirin reduced the risk of developing metastatic cancer by more than a third, especially for patients with colorectal cancer. Daily aspirin use also alleviated the risk of developing adenocarcinomas by nearly half. Adenocarcinomas are a type of cancer that’s common in the colon, lung and prostate.

The results are nothing to scoff at considering aspirin is readily available and affordable. It does carry some risks, though, like gastrointestinal bleeding. Doctors often only advise taking it daily if the risk of heart attack or stroke outweighs the risk of stomach bleeding. But its ability to ward off cancer quickly could make it a boon for those at risk of developing the disease.

Aspirin’s anti-inflammatory abilities make it a venerable drug for stroke treatment, too. More research is needed to determine exactly why aspirin seems to cull cancer, so make sure you adopt other ways to stay healthy. Avoid smoking and too much alcohol, sun and sodium. Eat colorful organic fruits and veggies and keep a healthy body weight. And if your doctor O-Ks it, pop a low-dose aspirin every day to increase the odds you keep cancer away.