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Good Housekeeping
Jennifer Chan, Assistant Managing Editor
April 01, 2012

A Daily Dose of Aspirin May Reduce Our Risk of Cancer

Research shows that pain relievers can do double duty. By Jennifer Chan

It’s not exactly the miracle cure we’ve all been waiting for, but a preventive measure that at least lowers our risk of getting cancer isn’t such bad news either. According to three new studies published in the journal Lancet, aspirin may actually keep us safe from different types of cancer. In addition, researchers are also saying that this over-the-counter pain reliever may even stop an existing cancer from spreading

The studies looked at participants who were part of a study that tested the effects of aspirin on heart disease. These volunteers were given a daily low-dose aspirin (75 mg to 300 mg) and were then monitored to see how many of them would develop cancer later on. In one study, researchers learned that the participants had an almost 25-percent lower risk of getting cancer in five years compared to those placed under placebo. After five years, the risk of death was 37 percent lower in those who kept taking the aspirin. 

In the second study, researchers followed participants for 6.5 years. Out of the sample, those who took aspirin had a 36-percent lower risk rate of getting metastatic cancer and a 46-percent lower risk rate of getting colon, prostate, or lung cancer. A third study published in the Lancet Oncology looked at other observational studies, which proved that regular use of aspirin can in fact reduce long-term risk of various cancers. 

While this sounds like the perfect strategy, researchers have warned that there are side effects to taking aspirin daily. Gastrointestinal bleeding, for one, is considered to be a side effect, although research has shown that it does wane after some time. Still, taking on cancer on our own isn’t the best way to keep ourselves healthy. If we’re serious about living a healthy life, we can start by consulting a medical expert.

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Jennifer Chan
Assistant Managing Editor
Jennifer Chan was a contributing writer for Female Network for two years before formally joining the team as a staff writer in July 2012... Read more...
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