The People's Perspective on Medicine

Aspirin Reduces Cancer Risk

The humble aspirin tablet has once again been shown to lower the likelihood of developing cancer. A number of studies have hinted that aspirin may have anti-cancer potential, but the benefit was not the same in every study.
In a new analysis, health records of more than 100,000 American adults were examined for ten years. When first recruited to the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, these seniors filled out detailed questionnaires that included their history of aspirin use. They also responded to questions every two years throughout the study. The scientists found that those who took aspirin daily lowered their risk of digestive tract cancers by 40 percent. Doctors caution, however, that taking aspirin can increase the possibility of dangerous gastrointestinal bleeding and that it should not be undertaken without medical supervision.
[Journal of the National Cancer Institute, online, Aug. 10, 2012]

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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 would like to hear more about this as I take a 325mg Aspirin a day.

The June 6, 2012 JAMA article indicated that it is low-dose aspirin that’s a contributing factor in bleeding when compared to those not taking any aspirin. From that article:
“Any benefit of low-dose aspirin might be offset by the risk of major bleeding. It is known that aspirin is associated with gastrointestinal and intracranial hemorrhagic complications.”
“Analysis indicated that the use of aspirin was associated with a 55 percent increased relative risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and 54 percent increased relative risk of intracranial bleeding.”
You’re right about not bothering your doctor with this–with common sense avoidance, you could manage the risk yourself.

The question would be, what is the dosage of aspirin used by participate. Many take 81mg others up to 325mg. What is the optimal dosage as a preventative without incurring unwarranted risk?

>Doctors caution, however, that taking aspirin can increase the possibility of dangerous gastrointestinal bleeding and that it should not be undertaken without medical supervision.
Hum. “dangerous GI bleeds” did happen to a friend of mine, but not at the level of one baby aspirin a day. I do rather think I’d be wasting my doctor’s time, and my money, to get medical supervision for one baby aspirin a day.

The benefits of this study have been recently revealed to have been overstated, while the risks of internal hemorrhage (both gastrointestinal and brain) were not stated. The minimal help from aspirin in preventing cancer is not worth the high risk of stroke or G.I. bleed that it brings.

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