Aspirin to prevent cancer? Not so fast...

September 25, 2012
Volume 09    |   Issue 39

You may have heard that taking an aspirin a day can lower the incidents of death from cancer. Well, it looks like that advice is premature. Now a new study says that aspirin's ability to prevent cancer isn’t as large as previously thought. What’s more, the risk of adverse effects is too large to make it worth taking as a preventive.

I’ve been telling you for years that even low doses of daily aspirin can increase bleeding in the stomach and other problems. This new study says that the risk of serious bleeding in the gut is very high ... and very dangerous.

In the study that made headlines in March, researchers looked at 51 previous trials on aspirin and cancer. They found that taking aspirin every day reduces the risk of cancer death by 15%. And the longer you take it, the lower your risk. For instance, those taking aspirin every day for five years or more saw a 37% decreased reduced risk of death from cancer. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

But a newer study, this one from August 2012, found different results. These researchers followed the aspirin use of over 100,000 elderly people for 11 years. They found that daily aspirin use lowered the risk of cancer death by 16% – and it didn’t matter how long they took the painkiller.

That’s considerably less than the study released in March. The authors concede that their study was observational, not randomized. But it followed a much larger pool of people. So the results are significant.

While a 16% lower risk of cancer death is nothing to sneeze at, the researchers weren’t impressed. They wrote: “These results are consistent with an association between recent daily aspirin use and modestly lower cancer mortality. But they suggest that any reduction in cancer mortality may be smaller than that observed with long-term aspirin use in the pooled trial analysis.”

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As a result, they gave this caution: “Although recent evidence about aspirin use and cancer is encouraging, it is still premature to recommend people start taking aspirin specifically to prevent cancer.... Even low-dose aspirin can substantially increase the risk of serious gastrointestinal bleeding.”

So what should you do? I agree with John A Baron, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. He said, “People should not start taking aspiring routinely just to reduce their risk of cancer.”

The problem with aspirin is that it can take five years or more to really see protection, but the risk of bleeding can happen almost immediately. And there are worse problems that can occur with long-term use, such as hearing loss, lung problems, and possibly pancreatic cancer.

Plus, there are much safer ways to prevent cancer and heart disease. For instance, if you’re taking aspirin to prevent heart attacks, then take Circutol. It contains nattokinase, which helps prevent blood clots. And if you’re taking aspirin to lower inflammation, then take Reduloxin. The main ingredient in Reduloxin is Meriva®, which is a form of turmeric that’s absorbed 29 times better than regular turmeric. And it fights inflammation as well as (if not better than) aspirin.

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


“Daily Aspirin Use and Cancer Mortality in a Large US Cohort,” Eric J. Jacobs, Christina C. Newton, Susan M. Gapstur, and Michael J. Thun; J Natl Cancer Inst first published online 10 August 2012; DOI:10.1093/jnci/djs318.

Catharine Paddock PhD. “Cancer-Protective Effect of Daily Aspirin Smaller Than Previously Thought.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 14 Aug. 2012.

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