Long-term Aspirin Use Reduces Risk of Cancer
Long-term aspirin use reduces the risk of cancer, especially colon cancer, according to a new study. In a follow-up from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which reviewed the records of more than 88,000 women and nearly 48,000 men for more than 30 years, aspirin use was reported biennially. Compared to non-aspirin users, regular aspirin use was associated with a lower overall risk for cancer (relative risk [RR], 0.97; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.94-0.99). The reductions were primarily owing to a lower incidence of gastrointestinal (GI) tract cancers (RR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.80-0.91), especially colorectal cancer (RR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.75-0.88). Even low-dose aspirin was effective at preventing cancer (as little as 0.5-1.5 standard aspirin tablets per week). It is estimated that regular aspirin use could prevent 33 colorectal cancers per 100,000 person years among those who had not undergone lower endoscopy and 18 colorectal cancers per 100,000 person years in those who had undergone screening. Aspirin had no effect on the risk for breast, prostate, or lung cancer. The authors concluded that long-term aspirin is associated with a modest but significantly reduced risk for overall cancer, especially GI tract tumors (JAMA Oncol Published online March 03, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.6396). The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended using aspirin to prevent colorectal cancers and cardiovascular disease among many U.S. adults. This study reinforces the benefit for colorectal cancer prevention.
Regular aspirin use could prevent 33 colorectal cancers per 100,000 person years among those who had not undergone lower endoscopy and 18 colorectal cancers per 100,000 person years in those who had undergone screening.
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