22nd October, 2010
If you have been diagnosed of colon cancer or have a family history of the disease, then take a daily low dose aspirin and you will be healed.
While taking too much aspirin is dangerous to the human body, taking a low-dose of it can help reduce deaths caused by colon cancer by more than a third, British researchers have found.
The report made available in the online issue of the medical journal, The Lancet, this morning, reviewed the 20-year results of four trials involving more than 14,000 people that were enrolled in a study on use of acetylsalicylic acid found in the drug, to prevent stroke and heart attack.
It is believed that colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in developed countries, with about one million new cases and 600,000 deaths worldwide each year.
In the study, Prof. Peter Rothwell of University of Oxford in the U.K. and his-co-authors looked at colorectal cancer incidence and mortality among people who were given regular, lower-range European Aspirin doses of between 75 milligrams (baby Aspirin) and 300 milligrams.
â€œAnyone with any risk factors such as a family history (of colon cancer) or a previous polyp should definitely take Aspirin,â€ Rothwell said.
The finding also â€œtips the balanceâ€ for anyone considering aspirin to prevent heart attacks and strokes, he said.
The results, the report claims, means that for every 100 people who take low-dose acetylsalicylic acid daily, one case of colorectal cancer was prevented, and 1 in 70 deaths from the disease was avoided.
â€œThe other interesting aspect of the study is that the types of colorectal tumours that were prevented were those higher up in the colon, which are harder to detect with screening tests,â€ said Mark Elwood of the B.C. Cancer Agency in Vancouver, who commented on the study.
Specialists warn, however, that there are risks associated with acetylsalicylic acid even at low doses.
â€œIt is a matter of patients balancing those risks and potential benefits in consultation with their own doctor,â€ Elwood suggested, noting the evidence was based on people age 50 and older.
If taken in high doses over a long period, it can irritate the stomach, intestines and bowel, causing lesions and major bleeding.
â€œThis interesting study would incite clinicians to turn to primary prevention of colorectal cancer by Aspirin at least in high risk-populations,â€ Dr. Robert Benamouzig and Dr. Bernard Uzzan of Avicenne Hospital in Bobigny, France, wrote in a journal commentary accompanying the study.