Aspirin a Day May Keep Cancer Away
the MPR take:
Previous research has suggested that regular aspirin use may lower the risk of certain cancers like pancreatic and colorectal cancer, but it could take as many as three years for this beneficial effect. An Annals of Oncology review of the effect of aspirin for site-specific cancer incidence, mortality, and cardiovascular events found that the effects of aspirin on cancer were not evident until at least three years after aspirin initiation. Some of the benefits were even sustained for several years after cessation in long-term users. Higher doses of aspirin did not appear to lead to additional benefits, nor were differences between low and standard doses observed. Individuals 50–65 years of age with average risk who took aspirin for 10 years saw a relative reduction in risk of 7% for women and 9% for men in the number of cancer, myocardial infarction, or stroke events over a 15-year period and an overall 4% relative reduction in all-cause mortality over a 20-year period. Additional research is needed for optimal dosage and duration of use and identification of individuals at greater risk of excess bleeding (the most important harm linked to aspirin use).
Background: Accumulating evidence supports an effect of aspirin in reducing overall cancer incidence and mortality in the general population. We reviewed current data and assessed the benefits and harms of prophylactic use of aspirin in the general population.