The efficacy of aspirin has always been questioned by the health experts and medical professionals. Even if it has tremendous benefits in treating cardiovascular diseases, heart strokes and even the pregnancy complications, the usage of the drug remained doubtful due to its health risks. But a new study has proposed some of its health benefits in treating severe forms of cancer disease.
According to the study, a daily dose of aspirin could help in avoiding some types of cancer.
The researchers say aspirin, if taken for a long-term period, can significantly lower the death risk from gastrointestinal disease including stomach cancer and bowel cancer.
Reports suggest that an estimated 130,357 cancer deaths could be prevented over 20 years if the Britishers between the age group 50 and 64 took aspirin for a period of 10 years.
The widespread usage of aspirin cut the deaths to 18,000 over the same time period. These deaths were majorly caused due to strokes and internal bleeding.
To ascertain the efficacy of aspirin, the researchers at the Centre for Cancer Prevention of London’s Queen Mary University collected data of over 200 previous studies related to the preventative use of aspirin.
According to lead researcher Professor Jack Cuzick, he and his colleagues found that if people took aspirin for 10 years, the cases of bowel cancer could be checked by 35 percent and deaths from the disease can be checked by 40 percent. The scientists say it is an impressive number. Moreover, the drug had tremendous effects on oesophageal and stomach cancer as aspirin use can cut the risk by 30 percent. The deaths from the cancers of stomach and oesophageal were cut by an impressive 35 percent and 50 percent respectively.
“Until our study, where we analysed all the available evidence, it was unclear whether the pros of taking aspirin outweighed the cons,” Professor Cuzick said while adding, “Whilst there are some serious side effects that can’t be ignored, taking aspirin daily looks to be the most important thing we can do to reduce cancer after stopping smoking and reducing obesity, and will probably be much easier to implement.”
Aspirin usage in long-term can cut lung and prostate cancer by 5 percent and 10 percent respectively, while the deaths from both the cancer forms can be reduced by 15 percent. The cases of breast cancer, which is growing as one the most deadly threat among women now-a-days, was cut by 10 percent and deaths from it was reduced by 5 percent.
However, the drug’s efficacy on non-gastrointestinal cancers was less impressive.
Apart from cancers, aspirins were found efficient in treating cardiovascular illness. The drug helped in reducing heart attack risk by 18 percent. However, the mortality rates were down only by a 5 percent. The chances of dying from stroke also reduced by 21 percent with aspirin use.
Professor Cuzick, however, cautioned against the negative effects of aspirin, saying people who are considering daily aspirin dose should record their GP as this will give them idea about how much they are susceptible to its potential side effects.