Women who took aspirin every other day as part of a massive study had a lower rate of colon cancer after 15 years compared with women who didn’t follow this aspirin regimen, according to results published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. But what interesting to note is that colon cancer rates remain the same after 10 years of study, which means that the cancer protective effects of regular aspirin use does start right away. It lags behind many years. Regular aspirin use is also not risk free. The women who took aspirin had higher rates of gastrointestinal bleeding than their counterparts.
Due to this potential risk of gastrointestinal bleeding from aspirin, the prophylactic use of aspirin is not generally recommended unless you have risk factors that require some cardiac protection. Daily aspirin use is often prescribed to individuals recovering after a heart attack or stroke to help prevent future cardiovascular events. Regular aspirin use can also increase the risk of ulcer or it has a well-documented association with gastrointestinal and brain vessels bleeding.
There is some evidence suggests that daily aspirin use may reduce the risk of colon cancer, but 10-year follow-up data from the Women’s Health Study cast doubt on whether aspirin taken every other day reduced colon cancer risk. However, this study, which included an average of 18 years of follow-up data on about 40 000 women who were randomized to receive either aspirin every other day or a placebo, did find an effect: 47 fewer cases of colon cancer and 56 fewer cases of gastrointestinal cancer in women who took aspirin compared with the placebo group. However, the researchers did not find an overall reduction in all-cause mortality or a decrease in cancers overall in the group that took regular aspirin. It is important to understand this! You are taking aspirin daily to lower the death due to cancer but that did not change even though you had fewer cases of colon cancer or gastrointestinal cancer compared to placebo. The cancer related death is same in placebo group compared to study group.
Bottom Line: Daily aspirin use may reduce incidence of colon cancer or gastrointestinal cancer but overall deaths associated with cancer did not change. Also, it is important to note the daily use of aspirin may increase your risk of gastrointestinal or cerebral bleeding. Aspirin should be used when there is increased risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.
An Aspirin Every Other Day May Help Reduce Colon Cancer Among Women « news@JAMA.