An aspirin a day may keep colon cancer away, or reduce a woman’s risk of contracting it, if taken long term, according to a recent study published in the July 15 issue of the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
Researchers say that women who took low-dose aspirin every other day for 18 years saw a 20 percent drop in their risk of developing colon cancer.
According to Nancy Cook, who is the lead author of the study and professor at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, she and her colleagues found out that those women who took 100 milligrams of aspirin every other day for a minimum of 10 years showed a reduced risk of up to 20 percent of developing colon cancer compared to those under placebo.
The study was based on data from the Women’s Health Study, which tracks more than 30,000 women age 45 and older. Half of the women in these studies were randomized to take aspirin every other day, while the other half received a placebo, according to a NBC News report.
The women, for the first decade of the study, were sent annual supplies of monthly calendar packs containing either aspirins or placebos. The women were sent questionnaires t six months, 12 months, and then annually that asked about taking their medications on schedule, whether they’d experienced any adverse effects and if they had been diagnosed with cancer.
This new conclusion succeeded a previous report that showed that aspirin was not able to help in cutting the risk of colon cancer even after 10 years of taking it. Cook wrote in the updated report that there were patients which showed improvement as soon as five or 10 years after their study.
The researchers analyzed the records of 34,000 of the original 42,000 women who participated in the previous study. These women were still taking aspirin even after the study.
They found out that about 1.10 percent of those who continued to take aspirin in 16 years developed colon cancer while those under placebo had 1.40 percent reported cases. Those who continue to take aspirin the researchers concluded, have a lower risk of about 20 percent compared to those who don’t.
At the 10-year mark of the study there was no difference in the risk of cancer between those taking aspirin and those taking placebo, but at the end of the study there was still no difference between the groups when it came to breast and lung cancer.
However, according to the study, there was a big difference when it came to colorectal cancer: 202 women in the aspirin group developed colorectal cancer as compared to 249 in the placebo group.
The researchers also checked if the results will be the same for lung cancer or breast cancer in which they found no connection.
About 14 percent of the participants suffered from stomach bleeding while 17 percent had developed peptic ulcers. These side effects are one potential drawback to the aspirin regimen, admits Cook.
Want to reduce your risk at developing colon cancer? Consult with your doctor to see if he/she feels an aspirin a day regimen would be beneficial in keeping colon cancer away for you.
Written by: Douglas Cobb