Prophylactic Aspirin Use Associated with Reduced Cancer Risk — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
August 7, 2014

Prophylactic Aspirin Use Associated with Reduced Cancer Risk

By Kelly Young

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, FASAM

Using daily low-dose aspirin for a minimum of 5 years appears to have more benefits than harms in terms of cancer prevention, according to a review in the Annals of Oncology.

The review found reduced cancer incidence and mortality at doses between 75 and 325 mg per day, starting between ages 50 and 65, with longer duration of use appearing to confer the greatest benefits. Men and women at average risk who took aspirin for a decade could expect relative reductions of 9% and 7%, respectively, in the rate of cancer, myocardial infarction, or stroke over 15 years.

The researchers found substantial benefit in terms of colorectal, esophageal, and gastric cancer incidence and mortality. Reductions in breast, lung, and prostate cancers were more modest.

As expected, aspirin use was associated with increased risk for bleeding events, but the cancer-prevention benefits outweighed this risk.

Reader Comments (5)

Ellen Grant MBChB, DObstRCOG Physician, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Retired

I think it is unlikely that aspirin could prevent gastric or colorectal cancer because aspirin causes gut irritation and bleeding which prevents longer use.

Are these results of lowered cancer incidence and mortality due to the fact that people at risk of vascular disease are given aspirin and are therefore selected to be more likely to die from vascular disease than from cancers?

There is also a similar epidemiological muddle about mortality from hormone and statin use. Two UK OC and HRT studies reported half the national death rates in users although use increased the risk of the main causes of deaths.

Vijay Dhoopati MD Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, Cary. North Carolina

We need to stop research on Aspirin and focus on food. Which food is good for cancer prevention stroke prevention cardiovascular disease prevention and Diabetes prevention.
Recently we came to kknow than aspirin has little or no roll in primary prevention.

There is no point in promoting chemicals. As physicians we should promote people and their life styles.

This is my opinion!

GEORGE ELLIS Physician, Internal Medicine, NYC

Interesting that in the 1980s it was thought that the aspirin benefit was primarily cardiovascular. This review demonstrates that the cancer prevention is greater than the CV benefit which is now found to be minor.

Hammond, Wiilliamson, Family GP Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, general practice and rest homes

The 9% reduction doesn't impress me worth while. Average risk patients can reduce cancer risk by much greater amounts by relatively simple measures such as nearly stopping alcohol consumption, eating a low red meat low animal fat diet and avoiding obesity.

GA Brown Physician, Internal Medicine, office

So now what do we recommend to our patients? On the one hand recent recommendations are NOT to recommend a daily ASA for primary prevention of CV disease because harms (GI bleed and Renal damage) outweigh benefit, and now this article implies that it reduces MI and stroke (as well as cancer). What are we suppose to tell patients???

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