Screenings could significantly reduce stomach bleeds
Cancer experts have said that a mass screening of people aged between 50 and 70 could significantly reduce the risk of stomach bleeds from taking aspirin each day.
Aspirin, because it helps to thin the blood, is taken by millions of people on a daily basis as part of prevention measures against heart problems and some forms of cancer.
However, the process can lead to internal bleeding for a small number of users.
The bacterium Heliobacter Pylori is found in the stomach of around a third of people in the 50 to 79 age group and health officials have said that it makes stomach bleeds three times more likely
Scientists believe that screening for the bacterium will help to clear it up using antibiotics and cut down on stomach bleeds.
Professor Jack Cuzick, an expert in epidemiology at the University of London, told the BBC’s Newsnight programme that the move is a “no-brainer”.
"The test is cheap and very easy to do, and eradication takes only five days,” he added.
"Bleeding is the only major setback. It's trying to identify those who are infected that matters."
According to Peter Rothwell of Oxford University, taking a low dosage for aspirin every day for five years cuts the risk of developing colon cancer by 50 per cent.
Further research conducted last year found that it also cuts he risk of dying from oesophageal cancer by 66 per cent and lung cancer by 25 per cent.
A team of researchers also looked at the effect aspirin has in the spread of cancers and found that it reduces the risk of secondary spread to the liver, brain and lungs by “about half”.
Newnight’s science editor Susan Watts will debate aspirin on BBC at 10.30 this evening (Monday July 16th).