Aspirin could cut the risk of dying from cancer by up to 20 percent – study

A new study suggests that taking low doses of aspirin may increase survival for cancer patients by up to a fifth, as well as reduce the spread of the disease.

Used for decades to treat pain, fever and inflammation, aspirin is also used as an anti-platelet medication said to have the potential to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke for high-risk older adults.

Of late, however, the drug has emerged as a promising tool in the treatment of cancer.

A recent study found that regular, low-dose aspirin may lower the risk of colorectal cancer by 19 percent.

A separate study claimed daily aspirin use could lower the risk of ovarian cancer by 20 percent.

Now, a new study published in the journal PLOS One has found that cancer patients who took low-dose aspirin in combination with their existing cancer treatment showed a 15-20 percent increase in survival, compared with those who did not take low-dose aspirin.

The research also found low-dose aspirin use was associated with a reduction in the spread of cancer, known as cancer metastasis.

The study, conducted by Professor Peter Elwood and his team at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, comprised a systematic review and meta-analysis of 42 observational studies and five randomized trials that included patients who had been diagnosed with either breast, colorectal or prostate cancer.

The researchers also identified a reduction in cancer metastasis with aspirin use when looking at six studies of cancers other than colorectal, breast or prostate, but Professor Elwood said that the number of patients included in these studies was too low to “enable confident interpretation.”

While intestinal bleeding is a well-established side effect of regular aspirin use, the researchers say no serious or life-threatening bleeding incidences were identified in any of the trials analysed.

These findings back up an earlier study in which researchers claimed that the benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to regular aspirin use to lower the chance of colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The Cardiff University team said their findings indicated that low-dose aspirin use could benefit cancer patients, and further research should be conducted to confirm whether this is the case.

“While there is a desperate need for more detailed research to verify our review and to obtain evidence on less common cancers, we’d urge patients diagnosed with cancer to speak to their doctor about our findings so they can make an informed decision as to whether or not they should take a low-dose aspirin as part of their cancer treatment,” Elwood added.

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