Can Aspirin Lower Cancer Risks?

People who are at high risk for heart attacks may be advised to add low-dose aspirin therapy into their regular routines to prevent heart attacks or strokes. While this form of therapy is strongly indicated to assist in cardiovascular cases, aspirin’s potential link to lowering cancer risk just isn’t strong enough yet to warrant the potential side effects aspirin may produce, many medical experts say. Even so, the body of evidence to support a link between aspirin use and reduced cancer risk continues to grow.

Numerous studies have linked regular aspirin use to reductions in cancer risks, but the fact remains that there are dangers associated with taking this over-the-counter-drug that patients and their doctors should take into account. The risks associated with aspirin use are especially pronounced in older people. After all, even low-dose therapy can increase risks for gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers and other complications. What’s more, a new study has shed light on a potential increased risk of colorectal cancer in some regular aspirin users. Overall, it has been found that the regular use of aspirin can reduce colorectal cancer risk by 31 percent. For those with certain genetic variants, however, the risk may climb with regular aspirin use.

While the jury remains out on the potential benefits of regular aspirin use in lowering cancer risks, a number of studies have found positive results in regard to a variety of different cancers. Aspirin use, for example, has been linked to lower risks of developing pancreatic, liver and prostate cancer. A lowered recurrence rate of breast cancer was also found in another study. Another body of research showed the potential benefits of aspirin use in regard to the formation of three different kinds of skin cancer. The potential benefits of aspirin use in relation to lung and brain cancer remain largely unknown, but it is becoming clear this known anti-inflammatory may have benefits that extend beyond curbing headaches and lowering heart attack risks.

Since regular aspirin use can be associated with complications, people are urged to discuss the option carefully with their healthcare providers. It is also advised to discuss personal cancer risks with healthcare providers so a more detailed plan to help lower risks can be created. For some people, losing weight, exercising and changing lifestyle habits may make a tremendous difference.

Aspirin may one day be recommended on a routine basis to help those at high risk for certain forms of cancer prevent the disease. In the meantime, people should discuss incorporating this drug into their routines with their doctors. Use is not without its own share of risks.

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