Aspirin has long been associated with helping to prevent or lessen the severity of heart attacks, but new research is showing it may help with various forms of cancer as well.
Aspirin has been recommended for those who believe they may be suffering a heart attack for several years. It is also recommended for those with a history of heart attacks, or who suffer from unstable angina.
A November study by the New England Journal of Medicine not only showed a 34 percent reduction in the risk of death associated with myocardial infarction (heart attack), but also venous in thromboembolism and stroke patients who instituted a daily aspirin regime.
New studies are showing that the benefits of aspirin can effect more than just the heart however.
Earlier this week, the Examiner reported that aspirin is being shown to help decrease the risk of developing some forms of hepatocellular carcinoma, a form of liver cancer, as well as reducing the risk of death from chronic liver disease (CLD). The report was based on a study published in the Journal of National Cancer Institute on November 28th. The study showed that those that used aspirin to address pain issues such as headaches, saw a 41 percent reduction in their risk of developing liver cancer. A 45 percent reduction in the risk of death from chronic liver disease was also noted. Those that used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also called NSAIDs, did not appear to receive the same benefits.
On Friday, another study revealed that older patients diagnosed with colon cancer, and who were prescribed a daily aspirin, were less likely to die from the disease. The study looked at more than 500 colon cancer patients in the Netherlands who were 70-years-old or older. More than 100 of those patients were prescribed a daily low-dose "baby" aspirin to help protect their heart after being diagnosed with cancer. During a nine year span between 1998 and 2007, the death rate of those who were prescribed aspirin was half of those who did not use aspirin. Those patients that did not receive chemotherapy saw the greatest benefit.
In October, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine also showed that aspirin therapy could improve the chances of survival in patients with colon cancer.
A Journal of the National Cancer Institute study showed that those who took an aspirin daily not only had a reduced risk of death from colon cancer, but there was also a 40 percent reduced risk of death from esophageal and stomach cancer as well. The study also noted a 12 percent reduction in the risk of death associated with "other types of cancers."
Although aspirin had once been associated with an increased risk of stomach bleeding and ulcers, scientists found that the stomach bleeding was not caused by aspirin, but a "stomach bug" instead.
A study at Nottingham University, showed that 60 percent of patients who suffered from stomach bleeding while also taking a low-dose aspirin, also tested positive for the bacterium H.pylori. Researches found that once the bacterium was removed, patients not only did not see an increased risk of stomach bleeding when taking aspirin, they also did not suffer any other recurring ulcer symptoms.
Although doctors and researchers want to continue research into the benefits of aspirin for various forms of cancer, these new studies show promising results.