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Daily aspirin reduces risk of developing and dying from cancer, researchers find

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 06 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5037
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

Taking a daily dose of aspirin can dramatically reduce the risk of developing and dying from cancer, especially from tumours of the gastrointestinal tract, researchers from Queen Mary University of London have found.

To reap the benefits, said the study, patients needed to take a 75-100 mg daily dose for at least five years, and preferably for 10 years, between the ages of 50 and 65. No benefit was seen while taking aspirin for the first three years, but an effect was then seen on incidence. Death rates reduced only after five years, and most of the benefits were seen after patients had taken aspirin over a prolonged period and then stopped.

The researchers collated the most recent systematic reviews of the effect of aspirin on the incidence of and mortality from specific cancers and cardiovascular events. This included 51 clinical trials, more than 25 cohort studies, and more than 150 case control studies. They also did searches to quantify the harms to the general population from taking aspirin in terms of the incidence of and mortality from gastrointestinal bleeding, peptic ulcers, and strokes.

The results, published in the Annals of Oncology,1 showed that aspirin could reduce incidence …

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