A new study suggests that taking a low dose of aspirin or non-steroidal pain reliever can significantly reduce risk of colon cancer on the long run.
Researchers reported that study participants who took 75 to 150 mg of aspirin for half of decade or more were 27 percent less likely to develop colon cancer than their peers who didn’t take the medicine.
Additionally, study authors found an association between non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including ibuprofen and an up to 45 percent lower risk of colon cancer.
Dr. John Baron, a senior researcher involved in the study, explained that the recent findings reveal that common drugs can lead to unexpected positive health outcomes. Nevertheless, researchers said that there may be some risks, so their research should be further reviewed.
Dr. Baron recommends patients who plan to take aspirin or NSAIDs as a protective measure against colon cancer to first have a talk with their doctors.
The recent research didn’t show any benefits in taking higher doses of the drugs or in taking the drugs irregularly. Plus, researchers cautioned that they only found a link between lower risk of colon cancer and NSAIDs, not a cause-and-effect relationship.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include Celebrex and Motrin, which are both prescription painkillers, and Aleve and Advil, which are OTC drugs.
Researchers also said that taking a single dose of aspirin or NSAIDs every now and then did not prevent cancer. Study participants had to take the drugs on a daily basis for at least five to ten years for visible benefits.
Yet, taking them for prolonged periods of time can cause some serious adverse effects so a doctor should monitor the process. The major side-effect of aspiring is gastrointestinal bleeding, while pain relievers may boost risk of heart attack and stroke when used in high doses or for long periods of time.
During their recent research, study authors analyzed the data on over 10,000 colon cancer patients from a national Danish database. The patients’ age ranged from 30 to 85. Their medical records also contained precious data on aspirin and pain reliever use. In Denmark, these drugs can only be taken by prescription.
The data on the cancer patients was then compared with the medical records of healthy patients. Researchers found that of 100,000 healthy patients those who took aspirin or NSAIDs had a lower risk of colon cancer.
The most significant benefits were observed in the European version of Celebrex, the team noted. But Celebrex also has serious side-effects including risk of stroke and heart attack, the FDA warns.
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