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Aspirin Use Could Significantly Reduce Cancer Deaths: Study

The study found deaths could go down as much as 50 percent for certain cancers if aspirin is taken daily by certain age groups.
Posted at 3:05 PM, Aug 06, 2014

People often take aspirin to reduce their risk of heart attack. But a new study from the U.K. says it could also dramatically cut down the number of cancer cases and cancer deaths.

The research found daily aspirin use among 50- to 65-year-olds in the U.K. over the course of 10 years could reduce deaths from stomach cancer by 35 percent, colorectal cancer by 40 percent and esophageal cancer by 50 percent.

"This 2,000-year-old drug has benefits today that we need to be paying attention to."

But, as Newser's headline shows, it's not all good news. There's also the risk of stomach and brain bleeding if you take too much aspirin, and in some cases this can be deadly.

The study, published in the Annals of Oncology, even points out the biggest risks tied to aspirin use are internal bleeding and even strokes. But the scientists say the benefits outweigh the risks.

"In terms of things you can do to prevent cancer, it's clear that the most important thing to do is to avoid smoking ... After that, this is probably the second most important that anyone can do to prevent cancer." (Via BBC)

A Forbes writer calls the findings "encouraging."

And The Guardian calls it the "biggest study yet." The study suggests about 130,000 lives in Britain could be saved if more people took aspirin. Still, one of the study's scientists says: "[It] should not be seen as a reason for not improving your lifestyle."

Scientists say they'll still need to do more research to figure out what the ideal dosage is and the number of years people should take it daily.