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Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Aspirin’s Ability to Prevent Cancer Gets Attention of American Cancer Society

‘Exciting opportunity to reconsider the potential role of aspirin in cancer prevention’

Low Dose Aspirin - 81 mgApril 12, 2012—A new report by American Cancer Society scientists says new data showing aspirin's potential role in reducing the risk of cancer death bring us considerably closer to the time when cancer prevention can be included in clinical guidelines for the use of aspirin in preventative care.

The report, published early online in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, says even a 10% reduction in overall cancer incidence beginning during the first 10 years of treatment could tip the balance of benefits and risks favorably in average-risk populations.


Related Archive Stories


Trans Fat Increases Stroke Risk in Older Women; Aspirin Reduces Risk in Study

Those who ate the most trans fat were 66% more likely to have an ischemic stroke - March 1, 2012

Adding Plavix to Aspirin for Preventing Small Strokes May Increase Death Risk

Study stopped early due to increased bleeding compared to aspirin alone - Feb. 6, 2012

Daily Aspirin Drops Heart Risk 10%; Ups Bleeding Risk 30%; No Benefit to Heart Disease Patients

Lead author warns people with an established history of heart conditions must not stop taking their medication - Jan. 17, 2012

Taking Aspirin Prior to Cardiac Surgery Aids Recovery, Prevents Complications, Early Death

‘This outcome could lead to new preoperative treatment standards in cardiac medicine’ - Dec. 5, 2011

Deaths from Many Common Cancers Reduced Significantly by Daily Low-Dose Aspirin

A daily low-dose aspirin known to fight heart disease, now proven as a powerful weapon against cancer in Oxford study - Dec. 7, 2010

More Links to Aspirin Reports below news story.


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Current guidelines for the use of aspirin in disease prevention consider only its cardiovascular benefits, weighed against the potential harm from aspirin-induced bleeding. While daily aspirin use has also been convincingly shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and recurrence of adenomatous polyps, these benefits alone do not outweigh harms from aspirin-induced bleeding in average-risk populations.

But recently published secondary analyses of cardiovascular trials have provided the first randomized evidence that daily aspirin use may also reduce the incidence of all cancers combined, even at low doses (75-100 mg daily).

The current review, led by Michael J. Thun, M.D., vice president emeritus of epidemiology and surveillance research for the American Cancer Society was not designed as a comprehensive review of the literature, but instead is a focused discussion of the key outstanding issues in using aspirin as a cancer prevention tool.

The report says recently published meta-analyses of results from randomized trials of daily aspirin treatment to prevent vascular events have provided provocative evidence that daily aspirin at doses of 75 mg and above might lower both overall cancer incidence and overall cancer mortality.

Why don't more women take a daily aspirin to prevent heart disease?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women, and evidence-based national guidelines promote the use of daily aspirin for women at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. However, less than half of the women who could benefit from aspirin are taking it.

The article is available free online at the Journal of Women's Health website.

"Based on this survey, it is evident that the majority of women for whom aspirin is recommended for prevention of cardiovascular disease are not following national guidelines," says Editor-in-Chief Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA.

In six primary prevention trials of daily low-dose aspirin, randomization to aspirin treatment was associated with an approximately 20% reduction in overall cancer incidence between 3 and 5 years after initiation of the intervention and a 30% reduction during follow up more than 5 years after randomization.

Cancer mortality was also reduced during study follow up that happened more than 5 years after the start of aspirin use in analyses that included 34 trials of daily aspirin at various doses.

Surprisingly, the size of the observed benefit did not increase with daily doses of aspirin above 75-100 mg. Notably, these meta-analyses excluded results from the Women's Health Study (WHS), a large 10-year-long trial of 100 mg of aspirin taken every other day, which reported no reduction in cancer incidence or mortality.

"The accumulating data from randomized clinical trials provide an exciting opportunity to reconsider the potential role of aspirin in cancer prevention," write the authors. They say several important questions remain unanswered, such as the exact magnitude of the overall cancer benefit and which individual cancer sites contribute to this benefit.

"However, these new data bring us considerably closer to the time when cancer prevention can be integrated into the clinical guidelines for prophylactic treatment following regulatory review by the FDA and the European Medicines Agency."

Links to More Archived Stories about Aspirin

Aspirin Cuts Death Risk in Half for Prostate Cancer Victims Using Radiation or Surgery

Prior studies have shown anticoagulants like aspirin hinder cancer growth & spread - Oct. 25, 2010

Aspirin Back in Spotlight: Lowers Death Risk from Any Cause for Colorectal Cancer Victims

Regular aspirin use after diagnosis associated with 29% lower risk for colorectal cancer death and a 21% lower risk for overall mortality - Aug. 13, 2009

Brain Microbleeds in Senior Citizens May Be Associated with Aspirin, Similar Drugs

This dangerous bleeding occurs when the walls of blood vessels in the brain become weakened

April 13, 2009

Polypill Cuts Cardiovascular Risk in Half with No Additional Side Affects

Magic pill contains three blood pressure lowering drugs, a statin and aspirin

March 30, 2009

New Task Force Recommendations Call for Aspirin Use by Older People Up to Age 80

Aspirin protects senior men from heart attack, senior women from stroke

March 17, 2009

Common Painkillers Like Aspirin Seem to Lower PSA Level that Predicts Prostate Cancer

Not enough data to say that men who took the medications were less likely to get prostate cancer

Sept. 8, 2008

Senior Citizens Taking Ibuprofen for Pain, Aspirin for Stroke are at Risk

‘…interaction between aspirin and ibuprofen… one of the best-known, but well-kept secrets in stroke medicine’

March 13, 2008

Lack of Statin, Aspirin Therapy May be Why Women Trail Men in Decline of Cardiovascular Deaths

Only 78.1% of women treated with statins, 90.8% of men; men 6 times more likely to get aspirin, beta-blockers, too

March 7, 2008

Aspirin, NSAIDS May Reduce Breast Cancer by 20 Percent, Large Study Finds

May also help in treating women with established breast cancer

March 6, 2008

Older Stroke, Heart Attack Victims Most Likely to Benefit from Aspirin Therapy

‘Aspirin Failure’ leaving 20% of all ages unprotected from second stroke, heart attack

Feb. 26, 2008

Ability of Aspirin-Like Drug Salsalate to Lower Glucose in Diabetics Begins Trial

University of Illinois one of 16 sites needing volunteers in large NIH clinical trial

Aug. 24, 2007

Increased Use of 5 Preventive Services Could Save 100,000 Americans Each Year

Simply taking an aspirin daily could prevent 45,000 deaths

Aug. 15, 2007

Senior Citizens Taking NSAIDS Like Aspirin Reduce Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Safer drugs needed before therapy can be recommended, researchers say

July 24, 2007

Aspirin and Older Women: Doesn't Stop Mental Decline, Less Effective for Heart Disease than for Men

Two new studies continue the mystery of aspirin therapy for women

May 2, 2007

Women Taking Aspirin Show Reduced Risk of Death from Any Cause Says Study

Editorial challenges findings based on ‘accumulated evidence’

March 26, 2007

Senior Citizens Most Likely to be Impacted by New Recommendation on Pain Relief Drugs

Heart Association concerned by frequent use of COX-2 inhibitors for those at risk of heart disease

NSAIDs, with the exception of aspirin, increase risk for heart attack and stroke.

Feb. 28, 2007

Older Men Regularly Taking Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers have Risk of High Blood Pressure

Previous studies of women have found similar results

Feb. 26, 2007

Older Women May Take Low Dose Aspirin Says New Heart Risk Guidelines for Women

Focus on lifetime heart disease risk by American Heart Association

Feb. 20, 2007

Failure to Give Aspirin to Cancer Patients with Heart Attacks is Deadly Error

Nine out of ten who did not get aspirin died says study, January 19, 2007


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