If everyone in the UK aged 50 to 64 took aspirin for 10 years an estimated 130,357 cancer deaths could be avoided over two decades, the research shows
PACancer fighting: Aspirin
Taking Aspirin daily slashes the risk of developing cancer, a new study has found.
Long-term use of the drug reduces the likelihood of major cancers, mainly those effecting the digestive tract, the research shows.
The research, published in the journal Annals of Oncology, covered more than 200 clinical trials and other studies investigating aspirin’s anti-cancer effects.
If everyone in the UK aged 50 to 64 took aspirin for 10 years an estimated 130,357 cancer deaths could be avoided over two decades, the study found.
A further 9,473 fatal heart attacks would also be prevented.
On the other side of the equation, population-wide aspirin use would be expected to cause just under 18,000 deaths over 20 years, mainly due to internal bleeding and strokes.
However, the scientists believe the scales are tipped firmly towards aspirin when weighing up the risks and benefits of the drug.
Lead researcher Professor Jack Cuzick, head of Queen Mary, University of London’s Centre for Cancer Prevention, stopped short of urging GPs to prescribe aspirinto healthy patients but added: “I think they should recommend it.”
He revealed that he took a daily low-dose aspirin pill every day “as part of a bedtime ritual”.
The research pulled together all the available data from reviews and clinical trials looking at both the good and bad effects of preventative use of aspirin.
Prof Cuzick’s team found that taking the drug for 10 years could cut bowel cancer incidence by 35% and deaths by 40%.
Similarly, rates of stomach and oesophageal cancer were reduced by 30% and deaths from these diseases by 35% and 50% respectively.