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Aspirin could prevent colorectal cancer

11th May 2007

Taking aspirin every day could help prevent colorectal (bowel) cancer, according to new research.

Use of aspirin is not recommended for the general population due to the increased risk of bleeding which aspirin brings on, but for those at high risk of developing this form of cancer, the benefits of taking the drug outweigh the risks associated with it.

It was found that using aspirin over five years reduced the occurrence of colorectal cancer by 37 per cent. After 15 years of taking the drug, incidence of colorectal cancer was reduced by 74 per cent in those studied.

The study author's wrote in the Lancet: "Use of 300mg or more aspirin a day for about five years is effective in primary prevention of colorectal cancer, with a latency of about ten years, which is consistent with findings from observational studies."

Dr Andrew Chan, also writing in the Lancet, warned: "With the concerns about the potential risks of long-term aspirin use and the availability of alternative prevention strategies (e.g. screening), these findings are not sufficient to warrant a recommendation for the general population to use aspirin for cancer prevention."