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Stomach cancer risk cut by using aspirin

6th February 2009

A study by the British Journal of Cancer has found that taking aspirin may lessen the danger of having a particular strain of stomach cancer by "up to a third".

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It is known that taking aspirin on a regular basis cuts the danger of developing bowel cancer, although it causes some side effects, such as abdominal bleeding.

Doctors usually say patients should not take aspirin regularly because of these side effects.

In the UK 8,000 people every year receive a diagnosis of stomach cancer, and the deaths of 5,250 people are caused by the disease.

The researchers examined the cases of 311,115 people for seven years and looked at their consumption of painkillers in the year before the study began.

They discovered that people who had consumed aspirin had considerably less risk of developing cancer of the middle or lower stomach.

Of the people in the study 73% had consumed aspirin had used aspirin and over half - 56% - had taken other Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs),  "at least once" in the year before the study.

25% had used aspirin on a daily basis and 10% took other NSAIDs every day.

The researchers found that the amount of people who took aspirin and developed non-cardia stomach cancer was seven per 100,000 person-years, in comparison to 11 per 100,000 person-years for people who did not take aspirin.

They also found there was a 32% reduction in this type of stomach cancer in people who took NSAIDs.

However the researchers did not see a protective effect in taking aspirin to prevent oesophageal cancer and cancer of the top of the stomach.

Dr Christian Abnet, the study's leader, said: "The number of people who survive at least five years following a diagnosis of stomach or oesophageal cancer is low, so it's important to increase our understanding of ways to prevent the disease and to investigate aspirin as a possible preventative drug."

 

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