Aspirin can prolong life of bowel cancer sufferers
Taking a daily aspirin can reduce the chance of death in bowel cancer patients, it has been claimed.
A new study, which has been published in the British Journal of Cancer, looked at more than 4,500 people who had been diagnosed with bowel cancer in the Netherlands and found that one pill a day can extend their life span.
Normally people with heart disease, including many which have taken out private medical insurance, are given a low dose of aspirin – typically 80mg or less each day – because it helps to thin the blood, but researchers now believe that it should now be given to people to suffering with bowel cancer.
Existing evidence also suggests that aspirin can also help to prevent certain types of cancers from developing.
However, the researchers also pointed out that aspirin can have dangerous side effects such as causing damage to the stomach lining and causing internal bleeding in some patients.
In the Dutch study, 25 per cent of patients did not take aspirin each day, 25 per cent began to take it after they had been diagnosed with bowel cancer and the remaining 50 per cent were taking aspirin prior to diagnosis because of other conditions.
The researchers found that taking aspirin reduced the risk of bowel cancer by 23 per cent, and after diagnosis cut their chance of dying by 30 per cent.
Sarah Lyness of Cancer Research UK said: "This latest study adds to the growing evidence about the benefits of aspirin. But we are not yet at the point where we would recommend people start taking aspirin to reduce their chances of developing cancer.
"There are still questions we need to answer about the side effects, such as internal bleeding, who might benefit most from taking aspirin, who might be harmed, what dose and how long people some people might want to take it for.”