Taking aspirin every other day reduces the risk of dying from breast or bladder cancer by as much as a third, a new study finds.
The ‘miracle pill’ is already being taken by millions of Britons to protect against heart disease.
Now researchers have revealed that aspirin can also improve survival for some cancers, including bladder and chest.
Based on the findings, the researchers argue for more population-based evidence to shed light on aspirin’s potential protective effects.
Taking aspirin every other day reduces risk of dying from breast cancer by a quarter, new study claims
WHAT IS ASPIRIN?
Aspirin is an everyday pain reliever for aches and pains such as headaches, toothaches and menstrual cramps.
It can also be used to treat colds and “flu-like” symptoms, and to lower a high temperature. It is also known as acetylsalicylic acid.
Aspirin is also available in combination with other ingredients in some cold and flu remedies.
You can buy most types of aspirin from pharmacies, stores, and supermarkets. Some varieties are only available by prescription.
It comes as tablets or suppositories – a medicine that you gently push into your anus. It also comes as a gel for canker sores and cold sores.
If you’ve had a stroke or heart attack, or if you’re at high risk for a heart attack, your doctor may recommend that you take a low dose of aspirin every day. This is different from taking aspirin for pain relief.
Only use low-dose aspirin if your doctor recommends it.
Corresponding author Dr. Holli Loomans-Kropp, of the National Cancer Institute in the United States, said: “The results add to the growing evidence that aspirin can improve survival in some cancers.
“While previous research has focused most heavily on gastrointestinal cancers, our analysis extends the benefits to others, such as bladder and chest.”
Millions of people use the over-the-counter pain reliever daily to protect against heart disease. It thins the blood, reducing the risk of blood clots.
Its anti-inflammatory properties are also believed to reduce the risk of colon cancer and some other forms of the disease.
The findings are based on a survey of about 140,000 men and women in a cancer screening study in the US, mostly over the age of 65, who were followed for up to 13 years.
They were asked about their aspirin intake, although not the size of the dose – usually 75mg in the UK.
Those with breast or bladder cancer who reported taking it at least three times a week were a quarter and a third less likely to die, respectively.
In addition, each use reduced the risk of death from the diseases by 21 and 25 percent, respectively, compared to those who never had it.
Dr. Loomans-Kropp said, “Although aspirin at least three times a week was associated with the strongest risk reduction, each use increased bladder and breast cancer survival.
These results may indicate that aspirin may be beneficial for some cancers. However, more benefit can be seen with a higher frequency of use. ‘
Experiments have suggested that the drug fights inflammatory processes in breast and bladder cancer (stock image)
Experiments have suggested that the drug fights inflammatory processes in breast and bladder cancer.
But it didn’t reduce the risk of them developing, treating, or stopping four other analyzed forms of the disease – including cancers of the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, or uterus.
Long-term use of aspirin has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, gastrointestinal cancers, and death from any disease.
Dr. Loomans-Kropp said, “Recent research suggests that aspirin use may also protect against development and death from other cancers.”
But the benefits and harms in older individuals are still debated. One study suggested that it increased cancer mortality, but not incidence, in people over 65.
During the study period, more than 32,500 cancers were diagnosed, including 4,552 of the breast and 1,751 of the bladder.
Dr. Loomans-Kropp said, “Many studies have evaluated the long-term benefits of aspirin use.
However, the link between aspirin use and cancer incidence and survival in the elderly remains uncertain.
“These findings suggest that aspirin use may improve bladder and breast cancer survival.”
But she added, “While aspirin use may have a cancer-protective effect, it remains necessary to consider both the drawbacks and benefits of long-term aspirin use.”
The drug can cause dangerous stomach bleeding. The researchers asked for more population-based evidence to shed light on its possible protective effects.
The findings are published in JAMA Network Open.
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world, affecting more than two MILLION women each year
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. There are more than 55,000 new cases in the UK every year and the disease claims the lives of 11,500 women. In the US, it strikes 266,000 every year and kills 40,000. But what causes it and how can it be treated?
What Is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer arises from a cancer cell that develops in the lining of a canal or lobule in one of the breasts.
When the breast cancer has spread to the surrounding breast tissue, it is called an ‘invasive’ breast cancer. Some people are diagnosed with carcinoma in situ, where cancer cells have not grown outside the canal or lobule.
Most cases occur in women over the age of 50, but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men, although this is rare.
Staging means how big the cancer is and whether it has spread. Stage 1 is the earliest stage and stage 4 means that the cancer has spread to another part of the body.
The cancer cells are classified from low, which means slow growth, to high, which means fast growth. High-quality cancers are more likely to come back after they are first treated.
What Causes Breast Cancer?
A cancerous growth starts with an abnormal cell. The exact reason why a cell becomes cancer is unclear. Something is thought to damage or alter certain genes in the cell. This makes the cell abnormal and multiplies ‘out of control’.
While breast cancer can develop for no apparent reason, there are some risk factors that can increase the chance of developing breast cancer, such as genetics.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
The usual first symptom is a painless breast lump, although most breast lumps are not cancerous and are fluid-filled cysts, which are benign.
The first place where breast cancer usually spreads is the lymph nodes in the armpit. If this happens, you will develop a swelling or lump in the armpit.
How is breast cancer diagnosed?
- Initial assessment: a doctor examines the breasts and armpits. They can do tests such as a mammogram, a special X-ray of the breast tissue that can indicate the possibility of tumors.
- Biopsy: A biopsy removes a small piece of tissue from part of the body. The sample is then examined under the microscope to look for abnormal cells. The sample can confirm or rule out cancer.
If you are confirmed to have breast cancer, you may need to be further investigated to see if it has spread. For example blood tests, an ultrasound of the liver or a chest X-ray.
How Is Breast Cancer Treated?
Treatment options that can be considered include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone treatment. Often a combination of two or more of these treatments is used.
- Surgery: Breast conserving surgery or removal of the affected breast, depending on the size of the tumor.
- Radiotherapy: A treatment that uses high-energy beams of radiation that target cancer tissue. This kills cancer cells or stops cancer cells from multiplying. It is mainly used in addition to surgery.
- Chemotherapy: A treatment for cancer using anti-cancer drugs that kill cancer cells or prevent them from multiplying
- Hormone treatments: Some types of breast cancer are affected by the ‘female’ hormone estrogen, which can stimulate cancer cells to divide and multiply. Treatments that lower the level of these hormones or prevent them from working are often used in people with breast cancer.
How successful is the treatment?
The outlook is best for those diagnosed when the cancer is still small and has not spread. Surgical removal of a tumor at an early stage gives a good chance of a cure.
The routine mammography offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70 means that more breast cancers are diagnosed and treated at an early stage.
For more information, visit breastcancercare.org.uk, breastcancernow.org or www.cancerhelp.org.uk