March 22

(The Guardian / UK)  “Taking a low dose [75-milligram] of aspirin each day may prevent cancer and stop it spreading, according to three papers to be published in leading medical journals on Wednesday. It could also possibly have a use as a treatment for the disease.

“Dr Peter Rothwell from Oxford University and the John Radcliffe hospital and colleagues, the authors of the studies in the Lancet and Lancet Oncology have previously shown that long-term daily aspirin, for 10 years or so, reduces the risk of colorectal (bowel) cancer and other common cancers, but some experts have voiced concerns over potential long-term side-effects, because aspirin can cause stomach bleeding.

“The new studies reinforce aspirin’s claim to be a weapon against cancer. They show that taking daily low-dose pills for just three years can reduce your risk of cancer by about a quarter — 23% for men and 25% for women. The risk of dying of cancer is cut by 15% — and by 37% for those who take aspirin for longer than five years.

“The second study found that aspirin helped prevent the spread of cancer — or metastasis — to other organs, which is a serious threat to the patient’s survival. Aspirin reduced the proportion of cancers that spread instead of staying localised by 48%.

“The drug also reduced the risk of being diagnosed with a solid cancer that had already spread by 31%. For patients initially diagnosed with a local cancer, the risk of later metastasis was reduced by 55%.”

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