Cancer patients will be surprised to know that the over-the-counter painkiller, aspirin may cut their risk of cancer death.
This goes according a study carried out by researchers from Yin Cao at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the USA, which was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Read on to learn more about the cancer risk-reducing benefits this humble painkiller offers and how long you have to take it to reap these benefits.
Researchers analysed the aspirin use and cancer outcomes of over 130,000 adults
Past research has linked regular aspirin use to lower risks of stroke and heart disease
. To investigate if the risk-reducing benefits extend to death from certain types of cancers, researchers combed through data from two large-scale studies – the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and Nurses’ Health Study.
They analysed the aspirin use and cancer
outcomes of over 130,000 adults over age 32.
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They linked regular aspirin use to a 7% to 10% lower risk of dying of cancer
The researchers found that participants who took aspirin regularly had a 7% to 11% lower risk of dying of cancer, compared to those who didn’t take it as regularly.
What’s more, they found that aspirin was especially effective at reducing colon cancer
deaths. Regular aspirin users had a whopping 30% lower risk of dying from this type of cancer, compared to those who didn’t take the painkiller as consistently.
The researchers added that female aspirin users showed a lower risk of dying from breast cancer
, while male users had a lower risk of dying from prostate cancer
The reduction in cancer-related death was greatest for participants who took up to seven doses of aspirin per week
So how much aspirin did the participants with the lowest risk of dying from cancer take?
The researcher said that the benefit seemed to be the strongest for participants who took two to seven doses of regular strength aspirin – that’s 325 g per tablet – per week for much of the study period.
However, those who took as little s half a tablet to 1.5 tablets per week also showed significant reductions in cancer-related death, they added.
The reduction in cancer deaths appeared for most participants after they took the painkillers for about six years.
If you have any serious health conditions, you should speak to your doctor before taking over-the-counter medication like aspirin.