Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in the UK, NHS data shows. Most of the diagnoses made were among people over the age of 60. Now, a study has shown that taking aspirin has the potential of reducing the risk of bowel cancer by 50%. However, self-medicating on aspirin could be dangerous.
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The study, led by a team of researchers from the universities f Newcastle and Leeds was based on an international trial known as CAPP2. It was a 20-year observational research involving patients with Lynch syndrome – a condition that predisposes certain people to different types of cancer – from across the globe, according to express.co.uk. Results published in the Lancet showed that taking two aspirins a day for a period of two and half years could reduce bowel cancer risk by half.
Professor Sir John Burn, from Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who led the research said:
Two aspirins a day for a couple of years gives protection that lasts more than 10 years and the statistical analysis has become much stronger with time. For people at high cancer risk, the benefits are clear – aspirin works. Our new international trial, CaPP3, will see if smaller doses work just as well.
Not so fast
The findings go to support existing evidence that long-term use of aspirin lowers the risk of some cancers including bowel cancer. However, Bowel Cancer UK warns against taking aspirin regularly in hopes of lowering risk of colorectal cancer.
In fact, apart from people who have Lynch Syndrome and those taking part in clinical trials, they don’t recommend taking the painkiller as a preventive measure. Prof. Burn added:
Before anyone begins to take aspirin on a regular basis they should consult their doctor first as aspirin is known to bring with it a risk of stomach complaints, including ulcers and bleeding.
It remains unclear if aspirin has the same effect on other cancers as well.