Aspirin has long been touted as a means of protecting yourself from heart disease, and now a new study suggests it could dramatically lessen your cancer risk, too. Researchers looked at eight past aspirin trials, and found that patients who took aspirin, rather than a placebo, were 21% less likely to die of solid tumor cancers 20 years later, the New York Times reports. The dose taken doesn't seem to matter (and can be as small as 75 to 100 milligrams), but the longer the aspirin was taken, the lower the risk.
The risk of death from gastrointestinal cancer was 35% lower for those who took aspirin; 30% lower for lung cancer; 40% lower for colorectal cancer; and 60% lower for esophageal cancer, according to the study published in the journal Lancet yesterday. Researchers note that previous observational studies have shown similar results. Even so, some experts warn that aspirin does carry risks including gastrointestinal or brain bleeding; others say more studies are needed before aspirin can be recommended for this reason—especially since the study didn't include many women. Click for a similar study involving breast cancer.