The People's Perspective on Medicine

Does Aspirin Protect Men from Prostate Cancer Death?

Men who take aspirin on a regular basis are at lower risk of prostate cancer death, according to a large study of male doctors.

Aspirin may help protect men with prostate cancer from dying due to the disease.

The Physicians’ Health Study involves more than 22,000 male doctors who have been followed for almost three decades. Over that time 3,193 were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Aspirin Users Are at a Lower Risk of Prostate Cancer Death:

Those who took aspirin at least three times a week were one fourth less likely to be diagnosed with metastatic tumors. They had a 39 percent lower risk of  prostate cancer death compared to those men who were not regular aspirin users.

Although aspirin did not seem to prevent the development of prostate cancer in the first place it seemed to make the disease less aggressive. One theory to explain this effect is the anti-platelet action of aspirin. This mechanism prevents blood clots from forming by keeping blood platelets from sticking together in clumps. It may also make it harder for prostate cancer cells to migrate to bones.

Aspirin Against Other Cancers:

This is not the first time aspirin has been shown to have anti-cancer activity. Other studies suggest that regular aspirin use may help prevent cancers of the colon, rectum, esophagus, breast, stomach and lung.

Aspirin Has Side Effects:

A word of caution is warranted. Aspirin can interact with many other medications and it can be quite irritating to the digestive tract and can trigger ulcers. That is why no one should undertake long-term aspirin use without medical supervision.

American Society of Clinical Oncology Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, Jan. 2016

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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I have been taking a 83 mg aspirin daily for over 15 years on the recommendation of a specialist on heart function. I had a slightly high cholesterol level (220) but it didn’t seem to cause high blood pressure. I had given blood about twice a year and it often took somewhere about 15 to twenty minutes to give a unit of blood. The first donation of blood after about three weeks of the aspirin only took about 5 minutes to collect a full unit. The flobotinest when told about my aspirin smiled and said that aspirin does thin the blood and my iron content was noted as high in the screening before donation. I’m 77 years old and still have a normal blood pressure of 115/55, the use of aspirin has not changed that. I noted that after a blood donation I never had any fainting or weakness, but I had a feeling of energy which lasted for up to a week.

I’ve seen this mentioned elsewhere in the news, but I haven’t seen any indication of how much aspirin may be needed. I take the 81 mg dose daily; would this be enough?

In the same news letter, there was an article about a doctor’s questioning the recommendation of garlic as a remedial substance for anything. That piece cites a study on garlic that indicated, “… its ability to reduce blood pressure and platelet aggregation.”

I wonder if garlic, having a similar ability to reduce blood platelet aggregation, would be as effective as aspirin against prostrate cancer?

Many years ago a Canadian study also indicated that aspirin administered post-operatively to cancer patients could reduce or prevent metastases. Logically as metastases occur at sites where blood clots/micro clots arise and cancer cells utilize fibrin, a component of normal blood clotting, then any fibrinolytic or anticoagulant agent will tend to inhibit this process. Aspirin is one such agent. Certain herbal medicines which act as PAF/ platelet aggregation factor antagonists also share this ability. So not new findings but forgotten ones!

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