Thursday, May 10, 2007

Aspirin vs. colon cancer

Aspirin vs. colon cancer: study weighs benefits ScienceDaily 5/10/07 "Long-term use of aspirin may be a cheap, effective way of warding off colorectal cancer for people who are at high risk, but bleeding risks make it a bad idea for the average patient...reducing...Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths, killing about 52,000 people a year...Daily aspirin use can also protect against heart attack or stroke for people at risk. But it can cause gastrointestinal bleeding and it may worsen some strokes that involve bleeding in the brain..."As always, it comes down to the balance of likely risk and benefit in individuals," said Peter Rothwell of Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford...What they found is that patients who took a daily 300 mg or greater dose of aspirin were 37 percent less likely to have colorectal cancer after five years and 74 percent less likely to have it after 10 to 15 years...That study, published on April 18 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, concluded that because of aspirin's high toxicity in doses greater than 80 mg a day, the risks of further study were not warranted, especially given that screening and colonoscopy work well at preventing colon cancer...Originally made from the bark of the willow tree, aspirin is one of nature's oldest drugs. It was first synthesized more than a century ago and scientists continue to explore its potential benefits...A 2004 study of daily use of adult aspirin over a lifetime resulted in about 1 in 15 people having an aspirin-related complication and about 1 in 556 people dying."

I'm not sure if the 2004 study results will hold up in time, but more recent studies do imply that baby aspirin doses are what one should strive for (if healthy and no cancer predisposition) - where you get a fair amount of aspirin's benefits without that pesky death by bleeding problem. Hate when that happens. But if you know you are at high risk for certain cancers like colorectal cancer then aspirin seems to have an amazing ability to help prevent.

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