Aspirin is one of the most common medications that most of us take because it is so versatile. We take it for headaches, arthritis, sore throats, fever and for help to prevent heart attacks. Aspirin has many attributes. We know that it reduces pain and fever and decreases the tendency of blood to clot, but did you know that there has been increased interest in aspirin's potential as an anti-cancer drug?
Recently several large studies have demonstrated that aspirin may have an anti-cancer effect. Researchers from the American Cancer Society reported that daily aspirin users were 16% less likely to die from cancer than non-users. In absolute numbers this means that aspirin would prevent about 100 cancer deaths a year for every 100.000 men and about 40 cancer deaths a year for every 100,000 women. The biggest effect seemed to be on gastrointestinal cancer.
This study and several others that came to similar conclusions were observational studies. This means that the researchers only published what they observed. The most reliable information comes from randomized, controlled clinical trials, but the evidence that aspirin lowers the incidence of cancer is certainly suggestive.
Remember that with aspirin there is a risk of stomach or intestinal bleeding, ulcers, and stroke. Nevertheless if you are at a high risk for cancer you may want to consider daily low dose aspirin.