'Aspirin the key to life': Fighting cancer with the most common drug there is
Long-term aspirin use reduces the risk of developing many cancers, a major study has shown.
Chinese researchers followed the progress of more than 600,000 people in the largest study to date looking at the link between cancer and aspirin.
They found that people who had taken the drug every day for an average of seven years were 47% less likely to develop liver or oesophageal cancer and 38% less likely to be diagnosed with gastric cancer.
They were also 34% less likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and had a 24% reduced risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
"The findings demonstrate that the long-term use of aspirin can reduce the risk of developing many major cancers," said lead researcher Professor Kelvin Tsoi from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
"What should be noted is the significance of the results for cancers within the digestive tract, where the reductions in cancer incidence were all very substantial, especially for liver and oesophageal cancers."
Digestive cancers account for almost a quarter of cancer cases in the UK and represent one-third of all deaths.
The effect of long-term use of aspirin on cancer incidence was also examined for breast, bladder, kidney and multiple myeloma cancers, but was found to have no impact. However, it was found to reduce the chance of lung cancer by 35%, leukaemia by 24% and prostate cancer by 14%.
Aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid, is used across the globe to treat a number of health conditions.
A recent study found that patients who stopped taking aspirin were 37% more likely to have an adverse cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke, than those who continued with their prescription.Taking an aspirin shortly after a heart attack also decreases the risk of death.
However, the regular use of aspirin has been linked to bleeding in the gut, and so some doctors do not like prescribing it in the long term.
Last year a study by Cardiff University found that a daily dose of aspirin increased the chance of surviving bowel, breast and prostate cancer by 20%.
The new research was presented at the 25th United European Gastroenterology Week in Barcelona. - The Daily Telegraph