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Closer to using aspirin for cancer prevention
April 10th, 2012
02:14 PM ET

Closer to using aspirin for cancer prevention

A new report in the journal Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology suggests that we could be inching closer to using aspirin as part of clinical guidelines in cancer prevention.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force encourages an aspirin regimen for some patients to prevent heart problems and strokes.

Aspirin has also been shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and colorectal polyps. Although taking aspirin daily has some promising benefits, it can also raise the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.

The report released this week looked at recent studies of aspirin’s impact on cancer prevention. In March, two studies published in the Lancet and one in Lancet Oncology suggested that aspirin could have protective effects against various types of cancer.

“Recently published meta-analyses of results from randomized trials of daily aspirin treatment to prevent vascular events... have provided provocative evidence that daily aspirin at doses of 75 mg and above might lower both overall cancer incidence and overall cancer mortality,” wrote Michael Thun, vice president emeritus of epidemiology and surveillance research for the American Cancer Society and the co-authors in the article.

They looked at the results of six trials in which the group taking daily aspirin had approximately a 20% reduction in cancer incidence between three and five years, and a 30% reduction after more than five years.

“Even a 10% reduction in overall cancer incidence from aspirin treatment would substantially broaden the indication for treatment in populations at average risk,” the authors wrote.

The mechanics of how aspirin works in cancer prevention is not known. It appears that the chemopreventive effects occur at low doses (75-160 milligram) and using a higher does not seem to provide greater protection.

From a tree, a 'miracle' called aspirin

“Several important questions remain unanswered, such as the exact magnitude of the overall cancer benefit and which individual cancer sites contribute to this benefit,” the authors wrote.

“However, these new data bring us considerably closer to the time when cancer prevention can be integrated into the clinical guidelines for prophylactic treatment following regulatory review by the FDA and the European Medicines Agency.”


soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Minorkle

    This was quoted in another article...."The risk of meningioma is only 3 cases for every 100,000 people, "low enough that you can miss it without a good scientific study," said Dr. Keith L. Black, chairman of neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, who said there's need for a bigger, well-designed study"....

    3 cases in 100,000 would .003%....seems quite a small percentage...if you opened up the study to 300,000 people it would be a 9 in 300,000 which would be .003%....how would it be definitive that any of these 9 people got meningiomas from dental x-rays? A person has a 1 in 3 chance of getting cancer in general. These kind of studies are dreadfully inaccurate. Dr. Black also said we need a "well-designed" study which obviously this one was not, in conjunction with junior high school level journalism.

    April 10, 2012 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Max Brooks

    Marijuana has been shown to have positive effects for at least five types of cancer. Lets end marijuana prohibition and give responsible adults the option to use marijuana.

    April 10, 2012 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alex

      Just don't smoke it. Pumping smoke into your lungs is never good for you.

      April 12, 2012 at 19:25 | Report abuse |
  3. Whos funding this?!

    The Cancer Society wont like this... they dont WANT to find a cure for cancer. Its big business. Our relatives suffering from cancer and dropping like flies from it puts big bucks in their pocket. It is 100% preventable through many natural sources but in America, we are brainwashed to think its out of our control even though many parts of the world don;t even deal with cancer!! Wake up people! Run for this, pink bracelet this, etc.. its ALL A SCAM.
    There will NEVER be a cure.

    Its one of two things: Either this aspirin thing is so negligible to preventing cancer, it poses no threat to their bottom line, or its actually HARMFUL and will lead to MORE cancer cases. One thing is for sure: Our country is about AFTER CARE, not preventative.

    THEY WILL NEVER FIND A CURE.

    April 10, 2012 at 17:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PLZ

      AMEN...Stop trying to cure diseases, start working on finding their cause

      April 10, 2012 at 18:30 | Report abuse |
    • nhparry2288

      "It is 100% preventable through many natural sources " where?

      April 10, 2012 at 23:51 | Report abuse |
    • Billy

      You have no knowledge of the many researchers who work long hours for relatively low pay investigating both the causes and possible cures for cancer. They will continue working long days and weekends despite the nasty things written about them. Many are cancer survivors or have lost loved ones to cancer. If they were in it for the money (since they are very intelligent and hard working) they would have chosen a different career.

      April 11, 2012 at 08:21 | Report abuse |
    • Roscoe Chait

      If you want to lower your cancer risk astronomically, stop eating red meat.

      April 11, 2012 at 17:35 | Report abuse |
    • tnskier29

      Actually there is some truth to aforementioned comment re: preventive vs. managed. Today, most diseases are being researched as to what causes them to occur. But, at the sametime the healthcare industry is geared towards management of cancer and other diseases. It comes down to simple economics. That is it's more profitable to manage disease over the long term, in which a person can still live a decent and managible life. Opposed to finding a cure and someone might need a course of treatment, but when finished they don't have to worry about comtinued care. Keeping a disease in remission, makes a person dependent on a medication(s) long term which is more profitable to the healthcare industry. Think about it, so many great things have been achieved over just the last 200 years. And many great advancements in the healthcare field. But, no one can cure a certain type of cancer, Crohn's Disease or MS..etc. Makes one wonder.

      April 11, 2012 at 18:05 | Report abuse |
    • M

      You couldn't be more correct!!! Thank you for telling it as it REALLY is!!!

      April 12, 2012 at 03:53 | Report abuse |
    • paul2321

      They have already found some cancer cures...it isnt one disease. Testicular, hodgkins, and some lymphomas are virtually cured already. Where is your conspiracy there?

      April 12, 2012 at 08:34 | Report abuse |
    • Claire

      Before the 20th century, the average life span was about 40. And 50% of children never saw their 5th birthday. We all live much longer and healthier thanks to medical advances. Please don't be stupid. And for those refusing to get their kids vaccinated and now whooping cough and other deadly, PREVENTABLE diseases are coming back, how dare you endanger the rest of us. Go back to 1800, you uninformed losers who think you're way smarter than you actually are.

      April 12, 2012 at 09:17 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      You do know that there is no single cause of cancer, right? It is a breakdown in the controlled growth of cells that is caused by multiple points of damage to cellular DNA (normal cells or maybe stem cells). It is NOT 100% preventable. Your body produces a steady stream of free radicals in every mitochondria in every cell every day. You are bombarded by cosmic rays and background radiation. If you think you can avoid all this by eating a certain diet you are a fool.

      April 12, 2012 at 19:24 | Report abuse |
  4. ilona

    All this findings are nonsense, just big speculation!

    April 10, 2012 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. eroteme

    Oh Glory Be! Two 'studies' in March published in the Lancet and one in Lancet Oncology!! How blessed we are!

    April 10, 2012 at 20:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. larry5

    How about eating unmolested food to prevent cancer? Nope. You've got to do your part to support big business by driving through those fast food places and eating frozen dinners and anything else that loaded with chemicals and who knows what. Then if things go off the rails there's a pill, and another pill and another....

    April 10, 2012 at 22:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. mmi16

    16 year C survivor

    April 11, 2012 at 00:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. obi_donkenobi

    I've got a better idea: stop (or greatly reduce) eating animal protein (meat & dairy). Read "The China Study," by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. The China Study is the largest, most comprehensive study of nutrition ever done. In it, you will find several startling facts: vitamins in tablet or capsule form are worthless; drugs only mask or suppress symptoms; milk can actually *cause* osteoporosis; and the govt agencies meant to protect us have been infiltrated and taken over by meat, dairy and “health supplement” lobbyists. Really.

    Besides the human medical aspect, worldwide meat production is causing global devastation. Rainforests decimated to provide grazing land; it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of meat as opposed to 25 gallons to produce a pound of wheat; U.S. meat production causes 20 times more excrement than the entire human population; meat production accounts for 60% of the world’s human-caused greenhouse gases.

    And finally, 90% of all meat produced is done through cruel and inhumane factory farms. Cows kept pregnant and shot with hormones (that we end up drinking) to increase milk production, their calves usually destroyed as “byproduct”; chickens kept in cages that don’t allow movement; our seas overfished to the point of species extinction.

    I love a good hamburger or BBQ, same as the next guy, but I’ve reduced my intake of animal protein to one meal per month – the rest of the time it’s fresh organic fruits and vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and legumes. I did it for my own health, and for the health of the planet. Do think about it.

    April 11, 2012 at 05:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ash Cloud

      That is great to do if one can afford to eat organic or non-organic fruits and veggies three times a day. The reality is that only the top one percent such as yourself obviously can afford that.

      April 11, 2012 at 13:39 | Report abuse |
    • tnskier29

      @obi...not sure where you got your information but vitamins and minerals in tablet form isn't worthless. In fact it's a good manner to supplement since most people don't accordingly to absorb vitamin/minerals. The human body absolutely needs vitamins and minerals to survive and the human body doesnt create them. Therefore, the human body must "Consume" vitamines and minerals in some fashion. If the body has taken in enough and a person is taking a vitamin supplement then the body will simply excrete it,,usually through a persons urine. And though many people will proclaim that the body shouldnt consume this or that. Well surprise, you can have whatever you want. It comes down to using moderation in whatever you consume. Most people who are over-weight is due to more calories intake then burning off. Hence you become over-weight. SorryObi when you get your M.D. degree and studied this extensively then you can comment. Reading a few articles and studies on this subject matter doesnt make you an expert. And my speciality is Gastroenrologist Surgeon at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, TN.

      April 11, 2012 at 18:15 | Report abuse |
    • jane

      To the dr who responded. My guess is the poster has read numerous news articles suggesting vitamin supplements are dangerous. I cant link to it, but if you google November 20, 2008, 12:45 PM
      News Keeps Getting Worse for Vitamins you should see an article the NY Times ran. I am sure there are many more recent ones.
      Obviously, I am not a dr and will not comment if they are good or bad, but I can understand why people are confused. I'd prefer that my dr be able to analyze my blood to determine if I need supplements vs just a one size fits all suggestion. I was low on vit D and do take a sub lingual vit D daily.

      April 12, 2012 at 00:52 | Report abuse |
    • Holy Cow!

      @obi_donkenobi
      wheat and other grains (corn, soy and so on) are not really that good for you, unless your a cow. Soy turns into estrogens in the human body, so it's like taking a female hormone. Soy will actually turn a male frog into a female frog nearly over night. Look it up! And how much do you think 2500 gallons of water weighs? Im no scientist, but im guessing it ways much more than a pound of meat. So im guessing in all actuality, the cow prolly doesn't have 2500 gallons of water in his entire body, when he is used for meat. Regardless of what you tree huggers think we are meat eating APEX preditors. So if you wanna eat dirt, be my guest, but I'll have the juicy steak, and nice salad if thats ok?

      April 12, 2012 at 03:27 | Report abuse |
    • Yes1fan

      Soy can also cause breast cancer, due to it's hormones.
      Soy milk should have a HUGE warning label on it for that reason.

      April 12, 2012 at 09:48 | Report abuse |
    • steve snider

      Better to read this critical, statistical analysis of "The China Syndrome", which shows that the conclusions of that book are not supported by its own data.

      http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/07/07/the-china-study-fact-or-fallac/

      April 12, 2012 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
    • Wanderer

      What's a legume?

      April 12, 2012 at 16:05 | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      Julie, You have such a flare for the logic! It would be interesting to find out why the National Breast Cancer Society chose October (or why the drug coampny who actually founded it did so).Interestingly, Red October, the movie, has been playing recently. October 2008 may go down in history as Black October. I'm looking forward to days of green again, and they will come. Colors and their representations have such an effect on us. I am enjoying the orange, red and yellows on the trees. You're right we don't even see pink flowers blooming now. Now, thinking about pink and orange, these two colors, in their deep, bright shades, are the hottest colors for branding right now. What to wear? For fun, do a search for hot pink orange fashion wardrobe enhancements coming?Thanks for the insight!

      September 14, 2012 at 02:05 | Report abuse |
  9. Nick

    Stop trying to cure diseases, start working on finding their cause,only you people can do. Make the people know about there causes.......

    Patient TrackMate App – The best Patient Care App for every Physicians, Health care providers, Medical students to use on their iPad.

    Web -http://www.patienttrackmate.com

    April 11, 2012 at 07:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • nick? thats not a name. its a shaving mishap!

      "stop trying to cure cancer"?
      REALLY? WHERE IS YOUR HEAD AT? THATS THE STUPIDEST THING IVE HEARD, SENSE SANTORUM SAID HE WOULD WIN THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARIES!

      ONE MORE THING, SOME STUDIES SHOW THAT SMART PHONES MAY CAUSE BRAIN TUMORS... MAYBE YOUR TRACKMATE-APP IDEA, IS EVEN DUMBER THAN YOUR "STOP TRYING TO FIND A CURE FOR CANCER" IDEA! HAVE YOUR HEAD CHECKED, YOU MAY HAVE SOME FORM ON BRAIN CANCER THATS AFFECTING YOUR LOGIC!

      April 12, 2012 at 03:09 | Report abuse |
  10. Nick

    so it will help them cure.

    April 11, 2012 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. No Spam

    Marijuana also has anti-cancer benfits.

    Have a daily joint and a hit of aspirin afterward.

    April 11, 2012 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. VladT

    What the Lump is wrong with all you whackos? Everytime there is a possiblity in something that can aid in the fight against cancer, one of the most complicated and diversified illnesses out there, and it brings out all the nutjobs who tie it to either "Big Pharma," "Big Business," carnivorism, and the like.

    OCCUPY CNN HEALTH BLOG. WE ARE THE 99% WHO WANT CURES FOR CANCER DESTROYED. THE 1% NEVER GET CANCER

    April 11, 2012 at 08:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. carolae

    I love how these so called "prescription-free miracles" are suppose to work. Just think....it's just an over the counter purchase and you'll be saving yourself from certain cancers! Are they crazy? How would they know that an aspirin a day or a regimen of aspirin can do that? Intestinal bleeding? Now you have 2 problems to think about. Every drug or non-drug has side affects.....some worse than what you are taking them for. Lipitor and other cholesterol meds say that overuse can lead to liver failure but if your cholesterol is high, you need to take it. Some people get liver disease, others don't. It's a crap shoot and if you are willing to try it, go ahead. The next thing we'll be hearing is that food is bad for you.....then what. What about young children that come down with cancer.....would they not have gotten that if they had taken Aspirin?

    April 11, 2012 at 10:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jesamine

      This is pretty old news. Saw this http://blog.wannabuddy.com/2012/03/aspirin-good-for-your-heart-fights.html last month! Despite what some of the more extreme comments above said, the science does seem to indicate that aspirin really can help deal with cancer. Just because something is over-the-counter, it doesn't mean that it can't help. Low cost does not mean low impact!

      April 11, 2012 at 14:08 | Report abuse |
  14. Toonces

    Cancer prevention? How about eating well and exercising? When will people realize that health doesn't come in a pill?

    April 11, 2012 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PitchHitter

      I agree that healthy is good, but there is so much more to it than that. I am just finishing up treatment for breast cancer. I was diagnosed at 35 years (found the lump myself), eat very healthy- vast majority organic foods, do not smoke, and exercise 3-5 days a week (running and weights- very dedicated). I do not have the BC genes either. Many people I know were flabergasted about my diagnoses because they considered me "one of healthiest people they know."

      Cancer is everywhere. You can follow all the "rules" and it doesn't make a difference. Nobody is immune. In fact, I've read that cancer is so prevalent in our society that health professionals are considering reclassifying it as a chronic disease, like diabetes. A healthy lifestyle may or may not help. We just don't know. It is terrifying on many levels.

      April 11, 2012 at 14:41 | Report abuse |
    • Yes1fan

      PinchHitter, just curious, were you in the habit of eating soy products before your breast cancer?

      April 12, 2012 at 09:51 | Report abuse |
  15. Richard Caneer

    I started taking aspirin(2 500mg) every night when I turned 40 on the advice of my Dr. Somewhere along the line, they switched to 325 mg, but I still take them. At 65 yrs. old I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I haven't had any tumors in about 4 yrs. now but I still take the aspirin. I take it for heart health, as I have atrial fib., but I don't think it will prevent cancer from my experience.

    April 11, 2012 at 14:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MG

      You don't need to take such large amounts. Like the article said, only low doses are needed for the protective effect. By taking such large amounts you could be risking severe bleeding since aspirin interferes with blood clotting. This could be a serious issue in the event of a hemorrhagic stroke.

      April 12, 2012 at 19:17 | Report abuse |
  16. chatty kat 37

    i think it will help

    April 11, 2012 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Justin

    Clearly, it's all a conspiracy by big pharma to MURDER all their customers. It's a very viable business model.

    April 11, 2012 at 17:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Call The Dr.

    A study revealed that every 3 out of 4 people represent 75% of the population.

    All kidding aside... We will probably be discovering a lot more cures, and preventions considering we are now moving to a universal health care system. Which is probably a good thing.

    April 12, 2012 at 02:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. benedictntekor

    Reblogged this on benedictntekor and commented:
    The sooner they can come up with a solution the better.

    April 12, 2012 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. William1956

    Vitamin C works just as good as Aspirin.

    April 12, 2012 at 08:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark

      No it doesn't. Aspirin's benefit probably comes from its anti-inflammatory effect. Excess vitamin C not only is urinated out and wasted but it could also interfere with the bodies cellular "hardening" in response to free radical stress. It would be sort of like stopping someone from ever being able to go to the gym to workout. This would actually make it harder for the body to stop cancerous cells.

      April 12, 2012 at 19:13 | Report abuse |
  21. freeme10

    Many studies suggest that chronic inflammation can lead to cancer and that aspirin can help with this. It's a pennies a day solution, so don't expect the average doctor to focus on this. I am a cancer survivor – will do anything to prevent another round of chemo.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Sonny

    They forgot to mention that use of Aspirin on people who have acid reflux issues will likely INCREASE the incidence of esophageal Cancer (Check Barette's Esophagus on wiki to learn more about it).

    Not all drugs are 'perfect'

    April 12, 2012 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MG

      Use enteric coated aspirin which doesn't dissolve until it is past your stomach and this won't be a problem.

      April 12, 2012 at 19:14 | Report abuse |
  23. Sam Bogale Calgary Alberta

    If it works it is an inexpensive treatment!

    April 12, 2012 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
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    Patient's here in our modern Merced Cancer treatment center have the advantage of seeing Cancer Treatment Professional including a medical oncologist and radiation oncologist in one visit.

    April 18, 2012 at 07:15 | Report abuse | Reply
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      I employed Mr. Irritant for seevral years here at AOL and can confirm that he's hard working, idealistic and smart. He also has an imaculate sense of fashion. Especially Penguin shirts and Tommy Hilfiger trunks. Although he would always go commando' on a Friday.

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    April 24, 2012 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
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    Thanks for the good writeup. It if truth be told used to be a leisure account it. Glance advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how could we communicate?

    May 2, 2012 at 09:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Alicia V.

    No doctor can ever peidrct the future especially with cancers- though we are asked to do this every day.If she is old ( how old ?), she may die of natural causesbefore the breast cancer progresses to affect her health.I do not see why she would refuse a simple lumpectomy,but maybe she is very old.We have so little medical information here.Her doctor has all of her medical history and has examined her.That is the person to ask.I’ve seen people with advanced breast cancers live for many years.

    http://www.haineonlinetari.com/paltoane-dama-elegante-2013

    November 16, 2012 at 07:09 | Report abuse | Reply

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