Daily low-dose aspirin therapy may hold even more health benefits than previously thought, according to new studies. A daily dose of aspirin may reduce a person’s chance of developing or dying of cancer, and can prevent tumors from spreading, the studies say.
Aspirin therapy is often prescribed for patients who have had or are at risk for heart attack and stroke. It works by interfering with the blood’s clotting action. Clots can form when a fatty deposit in the arteries bursts. When clots lodge in the artery, they can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Recent studies have shown that long-term aspirin therapy may also help prevent some types of cancer. The latest studies, published this week in the medical journals The Lancet and The Lancet Oncology, show the cancer prevention benefits may be just as strong for those who have used the drug over just a few years.
According to the latest studies, people who took a daily aspirin had a 24 percent lower rate of developing cancer after three years, and were 37 percent less likely to die from the disease after five years than those who did not take aspirin daily.
Two of the studies published in medical journals this week showed that aspirin use reduced the risk of any cancer spreading to other organs by 36 percent and reduced the risk of developing certain types of tumors by 46 percent.
One potential side effect from daily aspirin therapy that cautions doctors against prescribing the drug is its risk for internal bleeding. Researchers say that this risk begins to wane after three or four years. After that, the risk of dying from a bleeding episode becomes lower for people who take a daily aspirin compared to those who don’t.
Researchers call the new data “an exciting development,” and said that perhaps the drug may be recommended on a larger scale in the future.