Is plain old aspirin the best medicine to ward off cancer? A new study in The Lancet says that it could definitely help, but researchers urge caution before anybody goes on a low-dose aspirin regimen for this reason.
The study, led by Oxford’s Peter Rothwell, is actually a review of eight previous studies that compared people on regular doses of low-dose aspirin to those on a placebo. The researchers who initially performed the studies were investigating questions like whether the aspirin regimen was effective in lowering the risk of heart disease. But in doing so, they kept detailed records on the more than 25,000 people who were involved in the studies—including their causes of death.
Deaths from esophageal cancer were reduced by 60% in the aspirin-takers (who took the drug for at least five years), compared with the placebo group. Lung cancer deaths were reduced by 30%, colorectal cancer deaths were cut by 40% and prostate cancer deaths were lowered by 10%, compared with the patients who got placebo. What’s more, the longer people took aspirin, the greater their reduction in cancer risk. [TIME]