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Bowel cancer awareness month: Daily aspirin cuts death risk

Posted Apr 25 2012 4:29am

A study of bowelA common name for the large and/or small intestines. cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. patients in The Netherlands found that patients who took low doses of aspirinOne of the most used medicines. every day reduced their mortality risk by almost a third. Aspirin has been used for many years as a painkiller and is now recommended for people suffering from heart disease to prevent heart attackThe death of a section of heart muscle caused by an interruption in its blood supply. Also called a myocardial infarction. and strokeAny sudden neurological problem caused by a bleed or a clot in a blood vessel.. This study adds to previous studies which have found that “…aspirin not only can prevent cancer from occurring but if it is there it can help prevent it spreading…” according to lead researcher, Dr Gerrit-Jan Liefers.

The study, which was published in the British Journal of Cancer presented a culmination of research of 4500 bowel cancer patients over almost a decade. The researchers found that those patients who began to take aspirin following their diagnosisThe process of determining which condition a patient may have. cut their risk of death by 23% and if the drug was taken daily for at least nine months the mortality risk was lowered by 30%.

The researchers propose that aspirin could be a useful additional treatment but should not replace traditional treatments such as chemotherapyThe use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer.. They now hope to hold a randomised controlled trialA study comparing the outcomes between one or more different treatments for a disease (or in some instances, preventive measures against that disease) and no active treatment at all (the placebo group). Study participants are allocated to the various groups on a random basis. May be abbreviated to RCT. to look at how aspirin compares to placebo drugs for people aged over 70 years with bowel cancer. Sarah Lyness from Cancer Research UK recommended that “Anyone thinking of taking aspirin to cut their risk of cancer should talk to their GP first. People with cancer should be aware that aspirin can increase the chances of complications before surgery or other cancer treatments… and should discuss this with their specialist.”

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