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Daily aspirin could treat cancer

21st March 2012

New research published in The Lancet has suggested that taking aspirin every day could "prevent and possibly treat cancer".

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Professor Peter Rothwell, from Oxford University, and his colleagues have already carried out research which linked taking daily aspirin with a decreased danger of developing some types of cancer.

Their study said people had to take the drug for a decade or longer in order to get its protective effects. 

Their new research, which analysed data from 51 trials and 77,000 patients, found the beneficial effects of taking daily aspirin actually occured between three to five years.

The team said taking a small amount (75-300mg) of aspirin every day appeared to reduce the amount of cancer cases by 25% after three years. 

There were nine cancer cases per 1,000 people who took aspirin daily, compared to 12 cases per 1,000 who took a placebo.

The danger of dying from cancer was decreased by 15% within five years in the aspirin-taking group and the risk of cancer spreading around the body was reduced.

Professor Rothwell said the best thing a healthy person could do to decrease the danger of cancer was to stop smoking, keep fit and eat healthily. 

Professor Peter Johnson, of Cancer Research UK, said people who were thinking of taking aspirin every day should speak to their doctor before starting.

"We now need some definitive advice from the government as to whether aspirin should be recommended more widely," he said.

 

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