Aspirin might be the cheapest way to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Researchers have known for a long time that low-dose aspirin can lower the likelihood of suffering a heart attack or stroke. Now there is evidence that low-dose aspirin can also cut the chance of developing colon cancer by about one fourth. The investigators lumped together four big studies involving roughly 14,000 people. Half were taking low-dose aspirin for its cardiovascular benefits. The other half were on placebo. Those taking aspirin were 35 percent less likely to die of colon cancer over two decades.
This isn’t the first time aspirin use has been linked to a lower likelihood of developing colo-rectal cancer. As exciting as these data may be, there are risks associated with regular aspirin use. There is a possibility of bleeding ulcers, which can be life threatening, and aspirin can interact with other drugs. That’s why long-term aspirin therapy requires medical supervision.
[The Lancet, online October 22, 2010]