Low-dose aspirin for prevention of colon cancer

Colorectal cancer is the second most prevalent cancer in developed countries, with approximately 1 million new cases and 600,000 deaths each year.

Low doses of aspirin taken to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke can also reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, British researchers reported Thursday. The study found that low doses of aspirin, when taken daily and long-term, can cut cases of colorectal cancer by 25% and the death toll from the disease with a third.

The findings might tip the balance in favour of using aspirin to prevent colorectal cancer, which is the second most common cancer in industrialized countries, after lung cancer. The study examined 20-year results from four studies involving over 14,000 people.

They found that aspirin reduced the incidence of colorectal cancer by a fourth and cut colorectal cancer deaths by a third. The participants were included in a study on the use of aspirin (ASA) to prevent strokes and heart attacks.

But their findings, published in the Lancet medical journal, is unlikely to decide a case that doctors consider controversial. In high doses over a long time, ASA can irritate the stomach, intestine and colon, causing damage and bleeding. But aspirin itself can be dangerous for many people, causing sometimes fatal bleeding in the stomach and intestines.

Aspirin has long been prescribed by doctors to patients who are at risk of heart attack or a stroke. Some experts hope to use cheap drugs like aspirin may be a way to prevent colon cancer in the population.

Posted on Sunday, October 24, 2010. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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