| 29.10,11. 01:33 PM |
An aspirin a day could keep bowel cancer away
October 29, 2011
Scientists say tens of thousands of people at risk of bowel cancer should be taking aspirin every day.
A study published in the journal Lancet has found that aspirin cuts the chances of developing bowel cancer by more than half in people with a family history of the disease.
The study looked at almost 900 patients with Lynch Syndrome who are more likely to develop cancers and found it takes only two pills a day over two years to reduce the risk of bowel cancer by more than 60 per cent.
"The important side of the finding is that this didn't happen immediately and the patients had to be followed for five years before we observed an effect," said the University of Newcastle's Professor Rodney Scott, who was involved in the study led by British researchers.
Cancer experts have hailed the findings as groundbreaking.
"It may well fete the practice of being able to encourage people with a hereditary risk of bowel cancer to actually take something as simple as aspirin and remarkably reduce their chances of actually developing bowel cancer," said Australian Cancer Council CEO Ian Olver.
Aspirin is already well known to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in high risk patients. But it can cause side effects, such as internal bleeding and ulcers.
"In general terms it shows that low dose aspirin on a regular basis does reduce the risk of bowel cancer. However, as I hope everyone is aware, aspirin does have side effects and they need to be considered," Professor Scott said.
The researchers are now starting a trial with about 3,000 people to determine the ideal daily dose of aspirin for this condition.
In Australia, about 5 per cent of the roughly 14,000 bowel cancer cases are thought to be due to Lynch Syndrome.