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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Cancer Channel
Reported October 4, 2012

An Aspirin a Day Keeps the Cancer Away?

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – People are already aware of the benefits of taking aspirin for preventing heart attacks, but what if the commonly used pill could do even more for your health? That may be the case according to mounting evidence suggesting that taking aspirin might decrease a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer.

During the 2012 ESMO Congress in Vienna, the efficacy of aspirin for reducing the risk of colorectal cancer will be up for discussion, the question being - "Is aspirin (NSAID) ready for chemoprevention of colorectal adenoma/cancer?"

A true believer in aspirin’s usefulness is Professor Robert Benamouzig from the Department of Gastroenterology, Avicenne Hospital in Bobigny, France, who will be arguing in favor of aspirin at the ESMO Congress.

"In 2010, researchers published the 20-year follow-up of five pooled randomized trials that assessed the effect of aspirin on colorectal cancer incidence and mortality. The study of more than 14,000 patients found that daily aspirin at any dose reduced risk of colorectal cancer by 24% and associated deaths by 35% after a delay of about 8 to 10 years," Professor Benamouzig was quoted as saying.

Whether or not aspirin should be recommended for lowering the chances of colorectal cancer in healthy individuals is still a debatable topic amongst experts in the field. Taking a daily aspirin carries the risk of internal bleeding and for healthy people without colorectal cancer the risks may outweigh potential benefits.

"NSAIDs and in particular aspirin are very promising in secondary prevention of colorectal neoplasia, however their role in primary prevention is still not proven. This means that the majority of the population does not need, and is not going to benefit from aspirin use," Professor Nadir Arber, Director of the Integrated Cancer Prevention at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel was quoted as saying.

Professor Arber will pose as the opposition in the aspirin debate at the 2012 ESMO Conference, although he did admit that certain high-risk populations could benefit from aspirin use.

Although there are admittedly benefits for some, "Before aspirin can be used for preventing these cancers, we need to develop means of identifying people who are going to benefit from the drug without developing side-effects," Professor Arber was quoted as saying.

So the debate continues, but one day soon aspirin might be useful to stop more than just your headache.

Source: European Society for Medical Oncology 2012 Congress, October, 2012


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