UK – Healthy people are encouraged to take daily long-term doses of an aspirin so as to prevent cancer. Aspirin is drug developed by the German drug maker Bayer, is a cheap, over the counter drug, generally used to combat pain or reduced fever.

According to a comprehensive review of potential benefits and harms, average vulnerable adults in general population who consumes an aspirin regularly for more than 5 years, have relatively less risks of cancers specifically gastrointestinal ones which may include stomach and bowel cancer.

The benefits appeared to increase with the duration of aspirin use but not with the dose, Jack Cuzick, PhD, of Queen Mary University of London and colleagues concluded in an article published online Annals of Oncology.

As per them the optimum result may be achieved if the person takes in a dose of 75-100 mg for at least 5 years and probably up to 10 years between 50 and 65. This could reduce the cancer related deaths by certainly 35%-40%.

Stomach and Oesophageal cancer were reduced by 30% and deaths by 50%. Lungs and Prostate cancer were reduced by 5%-10% and deaths by 15%. Breast cancer was reduced by 10% and death by 5%. This data was collected after a research by the University.

Scientists have also given the mechanism how the aspirin can potentially dip down the menace of cancer. They believe that aspirin both reduces inflammation and suppresses blood-clotting platelets which are thought to chaperone cancer cells around the body.

However, the serious side effects of the disease can’t be ignored. Aspirin can cause a large number of deaths mainly due to internal bleeding and stroke. But these effects are chiefly after the age of 70 years, before that no such effect is noticed as such. But when 18000 deaths are compared to 140000 lives saved, these numbers tipped towards the use of aspirin.

Prof Cuzick said, “whilst there are some serious side-effects that can’t be ignored, 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”.

However, it has been advised that people taking aspirin should first consult their GP’s just in case to encounter any eventuality.

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