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February 1, 2016

Does Taking Aspirin Reduce The Risk of Colon Cancer?

According to a plethora of recent studies, evidence has shown that low doses of aspirin may significantly reduces the future risk of colon cancer, a benefit which shows up even within the first 5 years.

A trio of studies, derived from a European clinical research team, studied 2 million subjects. These subjects were separated in two groups. The treatment group was made up of individuals taking aspirin to help prevent cardiovascular events such as strokes, heart attacks, etc. The non-treatment group did not take any aspirin or form of the drug. Researchers examined rates of colon cancer development in these groups.

The results were dramatic!  

The results revealed that by taking an 81 mg dose of aspirin, the overall risk of colon cancer over a 5-year period by 30%. In other words, there were one-third fewer cases of cancer in person taking aspirin versus individuals not taking aspirin.

These statistics adjust for factors such as age, weight, smoking, etc.  

Even more striking, individuals who experienced a vascular event in the past and were taking an aspiring to prevent a second vascular event had nearly a 45% lower risk of facing colon cancer. Where as the reduction was closer to 25% when aspirin was being taken to prevent the first incident of vascular disease.

So, To Use Aspirin Or Not?  

There is no RIGHT age to use aspirin to diminish the risk of colon cancer but a sensible guide could be at age 50. This is unless there is a family history of colon cancer even earlier in life.

Are there risks to LOW dose aspirin?  

Indeed, yes: It is always important to balance your own possible benefit with the risk. When using Aspirin, even in low doses, an individual has about twice the risk of internal bleeding, such as ulcers, diverticulosis, over time. Additionally, individuals have a slight risk of stroke. Yet, Stroke risk itself is not higher, and is in many people in fact lower.

How To Minimize These Risks?  

Do not mix daily aspirin with frequent anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve). Discuss the issue with your physician.

This study was derived from the US Preventive Service Task Force Draft Recommendations & Dr. Luis A Garcia Rodriguez Presentations in the 2015 Annual Congress of European Society of Cardiology