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Fighting Cancer with Aspirin?

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aspirin-may-reduce-cancer-risk Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock

Three new studies published in the March 21, 2012 online edition of the medical journal The Lancet suggest common aspirin may significantly reduce the risk of many cancer types and prevent tumors from spreading.

The studies, co-authored by Peter M. Rothwell, a researcher and professor of clinical neurology at the University of Oxford in England, add to a growing body of evidence that aspirin could be an inexpensive and widely available tool to fight cancer.

But you might want to consider some facts before running to your medicine chest.

Past studies have suggested daily aspirin use can have its drawbacks too, particularly in health people, such as gastrointestinal bleeding, hampering your ability to form blood platelets, which causes blood to clot and stops bleeding at the site of a wound.

Other side effects of taking too much aspirin can be tinnitus — known as ‘ringing in the ears’ — which can cause eventual hearing loss in some people or sometimes-serious allergic reactions.

A daily aspirin regimen is already used for some people at higher-than-normal risk of colorectal cancer because it can lower inflammation in the colon. However, for people at normal risk of colon cancer, the recommendation as viewed by health professionals, is controversial.

For one of the studies, researchers at University of Oxford found after three years of daily aspirin use , the risk of developing cancer was lowered nearly 25 percent when compared to a control group not taking aspirin. After five years, the risk of dying in the aspirin group was reduced 37 percent.

To determine these results, the researchers use patient data from many large, long-term randomized control trials involving tens of thousands of men and women.

A second paper analyzed five large randomized controlled studies in Britain found patients using daily aspirin for an average of six and a half years reduced their risk of metastic cancer by 36 percent.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.