Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Can aspirin lower women’s colon cancer risk? Seek medical advice first!

ASPIRINProf Mark Nelson, Principal Investigator on the ASPREE Study (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) recommends that healthy people of all ages should consult their GP prior to commencing aspirin for disease prevention.  His comments follow the release of The Women’s Health Study of almost 40,000 women aged 45 years and over, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which  found that women who took low dose aspirin on alternate days for 10 years were 20% less likely to develop colon cancer, but also reported an increased incidence of gastrointestinal bleeding.

The study also found that aspirin did not affect the risk of women developing breast or lung cancers.

 Mark commented that “Even in low doses, aspirin has side-effects. The elderly are more likely develop bowel cancer than middle-aged people, however, they are also more likely to experience side-effects of aspirin such as bleeding,” said Mark.   “Knowledge about whether aspirin should be used for prevention of cancers in males and females of all ages, will come only from clinical trials that measure all of the potentially positive and negative effects of the drug in that age group.”

 ASPREE is a Monash University led international trial of daily low dose aspirin in up to 19,000 participants. The study will determine the overall benefit/risk balance of low-dose aspirin in healthy people aged 70 and over and was recently awarded $2.2 million funding from the US National Cancer Institute to closer investigate the association between aspirin and cancer prevention in the elderly.

 Results of the ASPREE study are expected around 2018.


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