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Aspirin for Barrett’s Esophagus

When people with Barrett's esophagus take aspirin over time, they reduce their risk of developing esophageal cancer.

Regular aspirin use has been linked to a lower likelihood of a number of common cancers including colo-rectal, esophageal, stomach, breast, prostate and lung. Researchers have been searching for an explanation for this phenomenon.

Now, scientists have completed a small study of patients with Barrett’s esophagus. This is a pre-malignant condition of the esophagus. Thirteen patients were followed for 6 to 19 years. Biopsies were collected periodically to track abnormal cell growth. Researchers examined the tissue for mutations and also tracked aspirin consumption over time.

While the patients were taking aspirin, their esophageal cells were far less likely to develop mutations. Aspirin seemingly put the brakes on DNA damage. The lead author speculates that the anti-inflammatory activity of aspirin might be responsible.

[PLOS Genetics, June 17, 2013]

You can read more about the anti-cancer action of aspirin. Although it is very inexpensive, aspirin is not appropriate for everyone. Find out more about its benefits and risks in our free Guide to Key Aspirin Information.

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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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