Aspirin Reduce Risk of Colon Cancer
Everyone knows aspirin or acetylsalicylic acid (acetosal). This drug has been known since
hundreds of years ago and are often used as analgesics (pain or minor pain medication),
antipyretic (fever drug), and anti-inflammatory or inflammation. In addition to it’s ability to
treat variety of diseases and symptoms, the benefits of aspirin has also been growing along
with many research by scientists.
According to the latest research on Scotland, aspirin is proved to be able to reduce colon
cancer risk. The risk reduction is 22 percent if someone takes the painkiller regularly.
Recent research shows that consuming low-dose aspirin every day can reduce a person’s
risk to be exposed to colon cancer or colorectal cancer. In fact, previous studies have found
that large doses of aspirin may reduce risk of colon cancer. The result of the study was
recently published in the Gut journal.
But this research is the first to show evidence that lower doses of aspirin, which also can
reduce the risk of other side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding, may also be effective
in preventing colon cancer. This was mentioned by Eric Jacobs, director of strategic division
of pharmacoepidemiology at the American Cancer Society.
In the study, researchers from Scotland asked 2,279 people with colon cancer and 2,907
other people who are not suffering from colon cancer. They were asked to answer questions
about diet and lifestyle choices that can affect the increase of cancer risk.
Participants were also asked how often they took a low-dose aspirin (75 milligrams) and
non-aspirin NSAID drugs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like naproxen (Aleve,
Naprosyn, and others) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) in the year prior to diagnosis of
cancer or when the research took place.
Approximately 18.1 percent of participants without cancer are reported to consume more
aspirin during that period, compared with 15.5 percent of those suffering from colon cancer.
Participants who reported to consume low-dose aspirin regularly for a year or more,
experienced about 22 percent decreased risk of colon cancer.
This decline are clinically more significant to those who were reported to take low-dose
aspirin for more than five years. The percentage is about 30 percent less likely to get cancer
than their counterparts who did not take the painkillers.
Although the greatest risk reduction occurred in those who consume more than 525
milligrams of aspirin per week, this drug effect was still there for the lowest daily dose.
“This latest case study in Scotland is one of the largest till now that specifically examines the
effects of low dose aspirin and show evidence that the use of low-dose aspirin for five years
or more can also reduce the risk of colon cancer,” said Jacobs, who actually not involved in
this research, according to healthday.
“However, previous studies about the relationship of low-dose aspirin use and risk of colon
cancer have mixed results. That is why the results of this study needs to be confirmed, “he
said. The study also reveals that taking NSAIDs regularly is associated with decreased risk of
colon cancer, compared with those not taking the pain relievers.
Even so, the study notes that taking NSAIDs of any type before the diagnosis occurs does
not increase survival time in patients with colon cancer, or affect the risk of death of each
individual case. Subjects and control process of this study have been aligned with age,
gender, and health habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and fiber intake.
This finding is also very accurate because the results have been adjusted to weight problem,
body mass index, and other factors.
“Previous epidemiological studies showed high doses of aspirin (325 milligrams of aspirin
daily or a standard adult dose) and types of other NSAIDs reduce the risk of colorectal
cancer,” said Dr Andrew Chan, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School
and a gastroenterologis expert at the Massachusetts General Hospital .
“While the new findings provide a promising new glimmer of hope, when many Americans
are now beginning to take aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease, further research is
needed before saying with certainty that low-dose aspirin is also effective,” said Chan.
Because this study is retrospective, for example, it depends on people’s memory on the use
of aspirin, which may not be accurate. Researchers also noted that it is unknown whether
subjects with colon cancer continue to take NSAIDs after diagnosis, which can obviously
limit the conclusions drawn from the data presented on patient survival.
“Which is established in the literature is based on previous studies and the study now is
clearly proven that aspirin is effective in reducing the risk of colon cancer,” said Chan. “What
is less clear and still somewhat controversial is the matter of how many doses of aspirin use
in the context of prevention,” he continued.
Because aspirin can have dangerous side effects, organizations like the American Cancer
Society does not recommend taking aspirin to prevent colon cancer.
“The decision to take aspirin should be decided by doctors and based on balancing benefits
for heart disease prevention and also against the risk of side effects,” said Jacobs.
Based on background information of the study, worldwide colon cancer ranks second as a
cause of death than other types of cancer, which has killed nearly half a million people each
year. Jacobs stressed that adults must continue to run a colon cancer screening.
“Colon cancer screening test can detect early and treat colorectal polyps before they turn
into cancer. The American Cancer Society strongly recommends that all men and women
aged 50 years or older should get a colon cancer screening tests, “he said.