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Hong Kong (dpa) - Aspirin may help reduce the risk of contracting stomach cancer, scientists in Hong Kong announced Wednesday.
The team from the University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Medicine said their findings show long-term use of aspirin can reduce the risk by 22 per cent.
Results of the research have been published in the U.S.-based Journal of the National Cancer Institute but researcher Dr Benjamin Wong said it was too early to use aspirin to treat cancer.
"The result we have is for prevention so it should not be confused with treatment," he said.
"This is the first step to prove this principle but there are many things we have to do including clinical trials to make sure this phenomenon holds true."
The research also found that the use of steroid-free anti-inflammatory drugs could also help prevent the onset of stomach cancer.
Stomach cancer is common in Asia particularly among men and scientists believe the region's diet of salty, smoked and pickled food may be a factor. Some research has also linked starchy foods such as rice to stomach cancer.
Incidents of the cancer have declined in Japan as people there have changed their diets to eat less salt and rise and more fresh fruit and leafy vegetables.
Copyright 2003 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH