Low Dose Aspirin Could Protect Against Colon Cancer

An emerging study has found that low dose aspirin treatment could reduce colon cancer by one-quarter and deaths linked to <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/diseases">colon cancer by one-third, according to the Associated Press (AP).

According to experts, the effects of the aspirin regimen—bleeding and stomach issues—could be problematic for those not at significant risk for colon cancer. Prior studies determined that, while a daily dose of aspirin at the 500 milligram dose could prevent colon cancer, the adverse effects of an aspirin regimen at this high dose outweighed benefits to the colon, said the AP.

Researchers now say that a lower dose, for instance, at the baby or regular aspirin level, appears to offer benefits with less risk, the AP explained.

According to the National Cancer Institute, “colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. An estimated 56,600 Americans will die from the disease this year.”

Some one million new cases and 600,000 fatalities take place around the world annually related to colorectal cancer, said the AP, which noted that the average person has a five-percent chance of developing the cancer.

The research team, said the AP, looked at results from over two decades, four trials, and over 14,000 patients originally involved in studies looking at the use of aspirin in preventing stroke, noted the AP. The team concluded that those people taking baby or regular aspirin on a daily basis for six years saw a reduction in colon cancer by 24 percent with the reduction in deaths decreased by about 35 percent, noted the AP. The data was compared to those taking either no medication or a placebo and also revealed that taking a larger dose had no additional benefit, said the AP.

The studies involved the use of European baby aspirin of 75 milligrams and regular aspirin at 300 milligrams, said the AP. In the US, baby aspirin is 81 milligrams and regular aspirin is 325 milligrams, the AP added.

“Anyone with any risk factors such as a family history (of colon cancer) or a previous polyp should definitely take aspirin,” said Peter Rothwell, a professor at the University of Oxford and one of the paper’s authors, quoted the AP. Also according to Rothwell, the new finding “tips the balance” for those considering aspirin therapy in the prevention of heart attack and strokes, the AP reported.

Experts believe aspirin stops a specific enzyme linked to cancers such as those that focus on the breast, stomach, esophagus, and colon, said the AP. Some experts warn against aspirin treatment saying it should be reserved for high-risk patients only, noted the AP.

The study, which was not funded, was published in the journal Lancet. Some of the authors were paid by drug makers who manufacture anti-clotting drugs such as aspirin.

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