A tablet of aspirin daily could help prevent bowel cancer, a study suggests.
An Oxford University study has shown aspirin taken daily to cut the number of cases of bowel cancer by a quarter and the number of deaths by a third in a review of 14000 patients.
Aspirin is already used frequently as a preventitive for strokes and heart problems. However a large number of middle aged people do not take them because of the risk of side-effects.
But researchers said their findings – published in the Lancet – tipped the scales in favor of taking them. They followed four study groups over a period of 20 years to determine the impact of small regular doses of aspirin. The aspirin tablets given for medical reasons are often only a quarter of the dosage of the ones that are used to treat headaches. (75mg Aspirin Tablets)
They found it reduced the risk of the incidence of bowel cancer by 24% and of dying from the disease by 35%.
And even if the regular use of aspirin can have side effects, researchers said it is still worthwhile and that low doses of Aspirin tend to cause relatively minor side effects, such as bruises or nosebleeds.
One in 20 individuals in this country develop colon (bowel) cancer in their lives, making it the third most common cancer. Approximately 16,000 people die each year as a result of it.
The results expand on previous research in this area and comes after the government announced earlier this month that it is going to launching a new screening program for bowel cancer for 55 year olds.
Lead researcher Professor Peter Rothwell said the selection would be the perfect opportunity for physicians to talk with their patients about the possibility of taking aspirin.
“There is a small benefit for vascular disease and now we know a big benefit for this cancer. In the future, I am sure it will be shown that aspirin helps prevent other cancers too.”
He said those at high risk of bowel cancer, including the obese and those with a family history of disease, should give aspirin treatment serious consideration.
Mark Flannagan, chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said they were “very positive” findings and giving aspirin alongside the new screening programme should be looked at.
Anyone considering starting a course of medication should first consult their GP.
The Aspod is a device designed to carry aspirin on your keyring at all times in case of a heart attack. This is because chewing an aspirin has been proven to reduce deaths from heart attack by 20-25% and the earlier it is taken during a heart attack, the greater the benefit. If sudden severe chest pain is experienced a single 300mg tablet of soluble aspirin should immediately be chewed and swallowed, together with a drink of water if readily available.
Aspirin has also been shown to be beneficial if taken for a sudden worsening of anginal pain (unstable angina). A patient who has unstable angina and whose chest pain suddenly becomes worse, or who experiences anginal pain when resting, should also chew and swallow a single 300mg soluble aspirin without delay.