Aspirin Lowers Cancer Risk

Effect strongest against colorectal, other gastrointestinal tumors

Dr. Andrew T. Chan, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, led a team analyzing aspirin use byAndrew Chan, MD 135,965 people tracked by the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Chan et al reported in JAMA Oncology March 3 that those who used a standard or a low-dose aspirin at least twice a week for five years had a 3 percent reduced risk of any type of cancer. Their rate of colorectal cancer was lowered by 19 percent! Their rate of gastrointestinal cancer was lowered by 15 percent! No effect was seen in the risk of breast, prostate, or lung cancer.

“Based on our estimates,” Dr. Chan said, “we think that regular aspirin use could prevent almost 30,000 cases of gastrointestinal cancers a year, which account for almost 25 percent of all cancer deaths.”

Here’s the abstract.