Aspirin may do more than ease aches and pains.
A recent British study shows the popular medicine can also reduce the likelihood of dying from certain kinds of cancer if you take it long enough.
But health experts say more information is needed before people add aspirin to their daily regimen to reduce their cancer risk. Aspirin has its own risks, too.
A study published online in The Lancet, a medical journal, provides evidence that taking aspirin during middle age can protect against certain tumors associated with pancreatic, lung and esophageal cancers. Patients in the study took 75 milligrams of aspirin. A baby aspirin off the shelf in American pharmacies has 81 milligrams.
According to health news reports, the study shows people who took aspirin for more than five were less likely to die from certain cancers.
Aspirin affected some cancers more than others:
- 60 percent reduction in esophageal cancer deaths
- 40 percent reduction in colorectal cancer deaths
- 30 percent reduction in lung cancer deaths
- 10 percent reduction in prostate cancer deaths
Researchers examined records for than 25,000 people. All of them had been taking aspirin or a placebo for eight different studies on the medicine’s ability to treat cardiovascular disease. Most of the patients were men so it’s uncertain how aspirin would affect breast or cancers of the reproductive system.
And taking aspirin can be dangerous. It can cause bleeding in the stomach, intestines and brain. Only a doctor can tell you if the possible benefits outweigh the risks.
Remember, there are other ways to reduce your cancer risk. Maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke and stay out of the sun.