Eat right, exercise, take your vitamins, oh and don’t forget the aspirin. Many individuals are aware that an aspirin a day is useful for thinning the blood and reducing the risk of heart attack and blood clots. Dr. Oz made the baby aspirin a regular part of many routines in his book, You: The Owner’s Manual.
Science has unveiled yet another reason to add an aspirin a day to your health regimen: fighting cancer. British researchers at Oxford University analyzed data from more than 50 studies involving more than 10,000 men and women to determine that those who took one aspirin daily for at least three years were 25 percent less likely to develop cancer, while swallowing an aspirin a day over the course of five years was shown to reduce the risk of dying from cancer by 37 percent.
Another analysis showed that an aspirin a day over 5 years reduced the risk of being diagnosed with metastatic cancer by 36 percent, particularly with colon cancer – reducing the spread of this form by as much as 50 percent. The risk of common cancers like colon, lung and prostate were also reduced by 46 percent. The greatest risk reduction was seen in esophageal cancer, a 75 percent reduction from consuming one aspirin daily.
Of course the recommendation of an aspirin daily raises concerns for safety. Aspirin thins the blood and in previous studies had been linked to an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhagic strokes. These studies, however, analyzed data for this occurrence as well, and evidence suggests that the risk of bleeding is reduced over time with consistent use and that the risk of brain bleeding was lower in aspirin users than in non-aspirin users.
It should be noted that the original intent of these studies was to further uncover the benefits of aspirin for preventing heart disease, but scientists stumbled upon the cancer reduction, which rapidly moved into the spotlight and became the new focus of the study. This change, however, also suggests that the data may be flawed, lacking ideal controls and appropriate analysis among all parameters. Additional studies still need to be completed, but as The New York Times reports, many cancer doctors are commending the new research. Other physicians may be reluctant to jump onboard with this recommendation because the classic prescription, with the exception of Dr. Oz, is only to take a baby aspirin daily if you are at-risk for cardiac disease.