Can aspirin protect against cancer?

The other day, a fit 50-year-old man came to me for a visit to review his health. As we discussed his (generally good) efforts to take care of himself, he said, “I’ve been wondering if I should take an aspirin every day. I read somewhere that it can prevent cancer.” As a clinician, I really love it when people come in with questions that stretch my thinking. I have a stock set of answers to the “does aspirin prevent heart disease” question, but I didn’t have an easy answer to the cancer prevention question. What were the data? What should I be recommending? Is it true for everyone? Or maybe just for some people? I turned to a respected source of information: the United States Preventive Services Task Force. This group of volunteer medical experts can be convened by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to review the evidence about many topics in preventive care and give recommendations about various practices, depending on their interpretation of the research. For example, counselling someone to stop using tobacco is a Grade A recommendation — that is, the task force feels there is good evidence that the benefit of such an action is substantial. I reviewed the recent clinical guidelines on this topic and found out that, well, the cancer/aspirin question is a complicated one. Here is what I learned: There are no good data that aspirin will prevent cancers other than colon cancer. While that evidence may be forthcoming, we don...
Source: New Harvard Health Information - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Cancer Drugs and Supplements Health Heart Health Prevention Source Type: news

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Update In March 2019, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) released new guidelines that suggest that most adults without a history of heart disease should not take low-dose daily aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke. Based on the ASPREE, ARRIVE, and ASCEND trials, the ACC/AHA guidelines concluded that the risk of side effects from aspirin, particularly bleeding, outweighed the potential benefit. The new guidelines do not pertain to people with established cardiovascular disease, in whom the benefits of daily aspirin have been found to outweigh the risks. ___________...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Heart Health Prevention Source Type: blogs
Aspirin is best known as an over-the-counter painkiller. But acetylsalicylic acid, as it’s called chemically, has many other health benefits, as well as side effects, in the body that have only become clear in recent years. Here’s what the latest science says about the health benefits and side effects of aspirin, as well as which conditions it may treat and those it doesn’t appear to improve. (If you are taking aspirin for any reason other than for periodic pain relief, it’s best to consult with your doctor to confirm whether the benefits outweigh the risks in your particular case.) How aspirin affe...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized Drugs healthytime Source Type: news
Well, it seems as though not even a week can go by without more data on aspirin! I recently reviewed the ARRIVE trial and the implications for primary prevention — that is, trying to prevent heart attacks and strokes in otherwise healthy people. Since then, yet another large clinical trial — the ASPREE study — has come out questioning the use of aspirin in primary prevention. Three articles pertaining to this trial were published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, which is an unusual degree of coverage for one trial and highlights its immediate relevance to clinical practice. Aspirin stil...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Heart Health Prevention Source Type: blogs
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