Scientists at Harvard University say that the world’s most multitasking drug can lower the overall risk of having cancer.
They claim that the regular use of aspirin reduces the risk of cancer in general by 3%, primarily due to its effects on colorectal cancer and other tumours of the gastrointestinal tract.
According to JAMA Oncology, research shows that the regular use of aspirin reduces the risk of colorectal cancer by 19 percent, and the risk of any gastrointestinal cancer by 15 percent.
"We now can recommend that many individuals consider taking aspirin to reduce their risk of colorectal cancer – particularly those with other reasons for regular use, such as heart disease prevention – but we are not at a point where we can make a general recommendation for overall cancer prevention," said epidemiologist and gastroenterologist Andrew Chan from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.
"Our findings imply that aspirin use would be expected to prevent a significant number of colorectal cancers above and beyond those that would be prevented by screening and may have even greater benefit in settings in which the resources to devote to cancer screening are lacking."
"At this point, it would be very reasonable for individuals to discuss with their physicians the advisability of taking aspirin to prevent gastrointestinal cancer, particularly if they have risk factors such as a family history," said Chan.
"But this should be done with the caveat that patients be well informed about the potential side effects of regular aspirin treatment and continue their regular screening tests. Furthermore, aspirin should not be viewed as a substitute for colonoscopy or other cancer screening tests."