Does aspirin cut bowel cancer risk?
Research suggests that “a small daily dose of aspirin can significantly cut the risk of getting or dying from bowel cancer”, reported The Guardian.
This review gathered evidence from four large trials that compared taking daily aspirin for several years to placebo. As reported, aspirin reduced the risk of getting or dying from colorectal cancer, compared to placebo. The study also indicated that taking a low dose (75 to 300mg daily) was as beneficial as a high dose.
However, for individuals, the absolute reduction in cancer risk was quite small (the absolute risk of colorectal cancer was reduced from approximately 4% to approximately 2.5%). Regularly taking aspirin is known to increase the risk of internal bleeding, particularly in the elderly. As the review did not look at whether the people in these trials developed bleeding, we can't judge whether the potential benefits outweigh the potential harms.
Aspirin is known to benefit people who are at risk of cardiovascular disease as it thins the blood. However, it is still unclear if healthy people should take it as a preventative medicine.
Nov 03, 2010