Daily aspirin could lower risk of gut cancers
New research suggests that long-term use of aspirin may protect against stomach, bowel and esophageal cancer. Previously, researchers have found that a daily aspirin regimen can cause side effects, such as internal bleeding, but scientists in the recent study now say the benefits may outweigh the risks.
For the study, published in the Annals of Oncology, researchers from Queen Mary University in London did an analysis of all available studies looking at the the beneficial and harmful side effects of aspirin use. They esitimated that if people between the ages of 50 and 65 took a daily 75 -100 mg dose of aspirin for five to 10 years, they could reduce the risk of bowel cancer by 35 percent and deaths by 40 percent. The researchers also estimated that the rates of stomach cancer and esophageal cancer could be cut by 30 percent and deaths by 35 to 50 percent.
Overall, they estimated that all cancers could be cut by 9 percent with daily aspirin use for five to 10 years. No benefits were found until the individuals used aspirin for a minimum of three years.
Researchers also found some harmful side effects. People who were 60 years old who took aspirin daily for 10 years increased their risk for gastrointestinal bleeding by 1.4 percent. But, they say this is unlikely to be life-threatening for 95 percent of people.
The researchers noted, however, that people should consult with their doctor before starting on a long-term aspirin regimen.