Daily Aspirin Cuts Cancer Risk, but...
Concerns remain about side effects, including bleeding
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Aug 6, 2014 6:15 AM CDT
Aspirin could cut the risk of certain cancers, researchers say.   (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Dave Einsel)

(Newser) – Researchers in Britain are trumpeting the benefits of taking aspirin daily following a new investigation that suggests it could cut the risk of certain cancers. Data from 200 studies indicates that bowel, esophageal, and stomach cancer cases and deaths could drop 30% to 40% if people took the drug every day. Specifically, if 1,000 people took 75mg each day for 10 years, another decade after that would see 16 fewer cancer deaths and one fewer heart attack death, researchers say. But there's a big caveat: Aspirin has been linked to internal bleeding in the stomach and brain, and the above scenario would also lead to two additional deaths from bleeding.

Indeed, according to researchers, if everyone ages 50 to 64 in Britain took daily aspirin, it could save 122,000 people—but side effects would lead to an extra 18,000 deaths, the BBC reports. "Taking aspirin daily looks to be the most important thing we can do to reduce cancer after stopping smoking and reducing obesity," says one researcher. But he cautions that you should see your doctor before taking on such a regimen, the Guardian notes, and he doesn't recommend taking it daily for more than a decade, given a growing risk of bleeding with age. And an outside expert is less certain: "Before aspirin can be recommended for cancer prevention, some important questions need to be answered and tests need to be developed to predict who is likely to have side-effects." Previous studies show both benefits and drawbacks of the medicine—including possible blindness.

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Showing 3 of 26 comments
Aug 7, 2014 12:58 AM CDT
The dose that they are recommending is about equal to a baby aspirin. And if you take the enteric coated kind it will not affect your stomach. This is what my Doc recommended for me.
Aug 6, 2014 12:15 PM CDT
Could have "done without" Miley's tongue. Who knows what that tongue licked LAST?
Ezekiel 25:17
Aug 6, 2014 10:35 AM CDT
There are a lot of conflicting reports in this vein. First it was niacin that was debunked recently. I have been taking 1/4 of an aspirin for as long as I can remember. I good buddy had done the same thing and then he did have a heart problem. The doctor said he would have surely been dead a long time ago if he hadn't been doing that.