In theory, taking low dose aspirin can reduce the risk of getting a large number of cancers. But like a lot of things, there are issues and asterisks.
Check-out excerpts from an article I found on OncologySTAT. I have highlighted several important points in BOLD:
Limit Aspirin for Cancer Prevention to Patients Aged 55-75
Elsevier Global Medical News
SAN FRANCISCO – The safety and efficacy profile of aspirin for preventing esophageal and other cancers is likely to limit its use to people at highest risk, said Dr. Janusz A. Jankowski in a presentation at a meeting on gastrointestinal cancers sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology…
…Collectively, evidence suggests that taking aspirin reduces cancer risk by about one quarter, according to Dr. Jankowski; however, aspirin has to be taken for at least a decade to see clinically meaningful benefit (Lancet 2011;377:31-41). “Chemoprevention is a very, very long term goal here,” he commented. “This is not about taking it for a few years and hoping to get a benefit – it’s 10 to 20 years. And that means that the side effect profile … must be exceptionally low…”
…The authors of a recent analysis concluded that healthy people do not experience any significant reduction in either cardiovascular or cancer deaths when they take aspirin (Arch. Intern. Med. 2012;172:209-16), which “has kind of dashed our hopes for primary prevention,” he said…
…results for cancer and other clinical outcomes are not expected until 2019…
…Only people in a fairly narrow age range will have net benefit, based on currently available data. “Aspirin is a wonderful agent. Having said that, there is no evidence whatsoever that even if you’ve got secondary risks factors for cardiac disease or cancer, you should take your aspirin before 55 years of age,” he explained. And starting aspirin after age 75 years is not justified given the current human lifespan and the need for prolonged use to achieve benefit.
“The window of taking aspirin is between 55 and 75,” he concluded…
I think that pretty much sums it up.
But these excerpts only make-up about a third of the article. CLICK HERE to read it in it’s entirety.
Are doctors being overly cautious? Probably. Is this concern genuine. Sure. But you can bet the drug companies aren’t too excited about these preliminary test results.
One of the larger pharmaceutical companies is going to come out with a form of aspirin which reduces the risk of gastric bleeding and other issues–and then charge 100 times the amount that generic baby aspirin costs now.
Remember: You heard it here first!
Feel good, keep smiling and hold on to your wallets! Pat