What is the Relationship Between Aspirin and Cancer?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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A study done by John Radcliffe Hospital and the University of Oxford shows that there is a beneficial effect between aspirin and cancer. Those taking a low dose of aspirin were found to have less fatal incidents of cancer than those who were not taking the aspirin daily. The study in question considered the effects of aspirin and cancer on a few particular types of cancer, but researchers believe other cancers may have a similar response.

While older studies had not reached any firm conclusions about the possible link between aspirin and cancer, the John Radcliffe Hospital and University of Oxford study did suggest the risk of death from three major forms of cancer were reduced with low-dose aspirin. There were 30-percent fewer fatal incidents of lung cancer, 40-percent fewer fatal incidents of colorectal cancer, and 60-percent fewer fatal incidents of esophageal cancer. The aspirin and cancer link could also be beneficial for other forms of cancer as well.

In most cases, the study compared men, and lasted approximately four years. Men took at least 75 milligrams of aspirin each day, which is generally considered to be a lower dose, and is sometimes referred to as baby aspirin. These men were generally not taking the aspirin as a preventative to cancer, but to ward off other problems including heart disease.


Given the negative side effects of aspirin, the study prompted one physician at Oxford University to issue some guidelines for the taking of aspirin. Those who are under the age of 40 generally do not need to take the medication to prevent fatal incidents of cancer. Those who are 40 to 45 years old could start taking approximately 75 milligrams each day, which is not only good as a cancer-fighting measure, but also good for preventing heart attacks.

Researchers are still trying to determine whether there is any link between aspirin and cancer for those conditions specific to females. Only approximately a third of the population in the study was female. Therefore, more study may need to be done before researchers make conclusions for common female cancers such as breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

While the study shows a beneficial link between aspirin and cancer, taking an aspirin every day is not recommended for all people. Some people may experience stomach bleeding as a result of frequent aspirin use. Others may feel a generally unsettled stomach. Those who are concerned should consult their physician before beginning any routine medicinal therapy. Taking aspirin as a preventative does not take the place of routine medical screenings.


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