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Aspirin May Help Prevent Colon Cancer

Posted - Feb. 18, 2004 at 8:57 a.m.



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Here's new evidence that aspirin is the wonder drug of chronic disease prevention.

Now it appears aspirin protects against colon cancer.

Colon cancer is a killer, in fact, the number two cancer killer in the United States.

Now if we could all just take an inexpensive pill to prevent it, that would be great.

While this new study makes aspirin a good candidate, there are serious drawbacks.

Boston researchers examined the records of more than twenty-seven-thousand women who had no history of colorectal cancer, or polpys.

Those who took aspirin regularly were significantly less likely to develop the type of polpys that can develop into colon cancer.

The higher the dose of aspirin, the lower the risk. However - -

Andrew Chan, M.D./ Lead Researcher: "Although the highest doses appear to be the most effective in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer, we also know that such higher doses are associated with a greater risk of complications, such as bleeding."

Serious bleeding in the g-i tract or the brain, which can result in a stroke.

The dose of aspirin that appears to be the most protective against colon cancer is fourteen or more tablets of a week.

That dose is signficantly larger than what's given to prevent heart disease.

Current guidelines for heart disease prevention is a very low dose, such as one baby aspirin a day.

Norma Fine/ 71-year old: "I want to do all I can to prevent heart disease and colon cancer. But I think I'd be somewhat concerned about taking aspirin in larger doses."

The researchers are excited by their findings, but at this point they cannot recommend people take higher doses of aspirin to prevent colon cancer.

They believe more studies need to be done to evaluate the risks and benefits of taking such high doses.

One in seventeen Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer at some point in their lifetime.

So beginning at age fifty, routine screening with colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy remain the best way to detect and prevent the disease.

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