aspirin bottle and bottles of Motrin IB (ibuprofen) and Advil

Regular use of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can protect against colorectal cancer, but not everyone benefits from this effect.

Why Not Take Aspirin for Cancer Prevention?

Researchers have known for many years that aspirin and NSAIDs like ibuprofen, naproxen and diclofenac appear to have anti-cancer properties. But doctors have been reluctant to recommend such drugs because some people are susceptible to life-threatening bleeding ulcers.

In this study, investigators looked at the genetic makeup of people who had developed colon cancer or cancer of the rectum and compared their genomes to those of people without cancer.

Undesirable Results

People with one of two specific genotypes, about 9 percent of the total, got no protection from taking an NSAID. A small proportion of people, about 4 percent, were at higher risk of colon cancer if they took one of these drugs.

The risky genotypes are now known and it should be possible for doctors to advise their patients whether it will be helpful or harmful to take aspirin or an NSAID for colorectal cancer prevention.

Genetic Testing Still Elusive

The genetic tests are not yet available for clinical use, however, so it will be some time before this research will make a difference for ordinary people. People who are aware of a family history of colon cancer should periodically ask their doctors to help them get access to this testing so they will know whether or not aspirin, ibuprofen or another NSAID would provide a measure of risk reduction.

[JAMA, March 17, 2015]

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Audrey
    Illinois
    Reply

    My husband got ulcerative colitis and had to have his entire colon removed and is living with an illeostomy and wears an external bag. He had taken Ibuprofen almost daily for years and the doctor said that contributed to this disease because is damages the intestines. Be aware of over the counter medications and do not assume they are safe.

  2. Thomas
    Queens,NY
    Reply

    I’m considering whether or not to take a supplement that contains Ashgawanda
    Root Powder. I’ve heard anecdotal evidence about this herb causing liver and
    or kidney damage. Have there been official reports about this?

  3. Sam
    USA
    Reply

    It might be useful to know in what ethnic groups these genes are found.

  4. PP
    Florida
    Reply

    I want to hear more about this

  5. Sara
    South Carolina
    Reply

    I love your website…..very informative as well as the booklets that are available for ordering.

    Thank you

  6. J.
    United States
    Reply

    Do genetic tests which supply board info on genetic groups (such as those provide by 23andme.com) provide sufficient genetic info to determine if aspirin might be beneficial?

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Your cart

Total
USD
Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.