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The Health Benefits Of Aspirin May Outweigh The Risks


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A new study in Annals of Oncology finds that the benefits of daily aspirin may outweigh the risks, at least when it comes to cancers of the digestive tract – bowel, stomach and esophageal.


There was a smaller, but appreciable reduction in the risk of heart attack and stroke. Because of the bleeding risks associated with aspirin, there’s been some debate over whether the health benefits are worth this potentially serious risk. But the new study from Queen Mary University of London finds that, if taken over a decade, aspirin’s ability to reduce the incidence of these health issues, as well as the risk of death, clearly outweighs the risk.


“It has long been known that aspirin – one of the cheapest and most common drugs on the market – can protect against certain types of cancer,” said Jack Cuzick. “But until our study, where we analysed all the available evidence, it was unclear whether the pros of taking aspirin outweighed the cons.”


Now, they say, it’s quite clear.


To study the issue, the authors looked back over data from 200 studies assessing the health outcomes of patients who had taken daily aspirin (70-325 mg/day) over the years.


They found that aspirin over 10 years can cut bowel cancer incidence by 35%, and deaths from the disease by 40%. Esophageal and stomach cancers rates were each reduced by 30% – and deaths from these cancers by 50% and 35%, respectively. There was some evidence of a reduction in lung, breast, and prostate cancers, too, but it was weaker.


The risk of heart attack was also reduced by about 18%, as was stroke, albeit to a lesser degree (and deaths from stroke were actually increased).


The team found that it took about three years to see any health benefit of daily aspirin, and ideally, they say, one would take between 75-100 mg for at least five years to reap the fuller effects. Between 50 and 65 years of age, one would need to take aspirin for up to 10 years for it to be the most effective. In fact, the authors calculate that if everyone over 50 took aspirin daily for 10 years, 122,000 deaths might be prevented over a period of two decades.


There was some increased risk of bleeding (from 2.2% to 3.6%), but it was relatively minimal, compared to the positive effect on cancer and cardiovascular risk. It’s not clear if there’s an age after which aspirin would no longer be beneficial.


“Whilst there are some serious side effects that can’t be ignored,” says Cuzick, “taking aspirin daily looks to be the most important thing we can do to reduce cancer after stopping smoking and reducing obesity, and will probably be much easier to implement.”


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Thanks -good info; now, if only they would discover that regular use of boner pills for 7 years provides similar benefits. :GoldenSmile1:

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