Colon cancer patients reduce their risk of death from the disease by nearly 30% by taking aspirin, research has found.
Taking regular does of aspirin has already been recommended by doctors for preventing heart attacks and strokes, but its benefits to colon cancer prevention have been hindered by side effects including bleeding from irritation of the stomach or intestines.
But this latest study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests patients who already have colon cancer may benefit from taking aspirin along with surgery and chemotherapy.
However, a separate analysis of a subgroup of patients, found only those with the most common type of tumour, those that overproduce the Cox-2 enzyme, saw a benefit.
Dr Andrew Chan of Harvard Medical School in Boston, who led the study, said: ‘This is certainly something patients would want to discuss with their doctors.’
As part of the research the team analysed data from two ongoing studies, the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, looking at nearly 1,300 people with colorectal cancer who had been followed for an average of 12 years.
Taking into account other treatments including surgery and chemotherapy, as well as family history, the researchers found aspirin reduced the risk of cancer death by 29%.