A large study has determined that taking two aspirin a week can lower the risk of developing cancer and prevent up to 10,000 cases each year. Stomach and bowel cancer were the ones that showed less risk while taking the affordable and common medicine.

Researchers determined that the evidence was now strong enough to start recommending patients who have a family history of bowel or stomach cancer to consider taking aspirin, if their own physicians approved, according to The Telegraph.

Photo: The Guardian.

Data from 30 years, which included up to 136,000 people, was analyzed and showed that those who took aspirin regularly had a three percent lower risk of developing any type of cancer. Although three percent is not much difference, when it came to stomach and bowel cancer the risk fell by 15 and 19 percent respectively.

“We now can recommend that many individuals consider taking aspirin to reduce their risk of colorectal cancer, but we are not at a point where we can make a general recommendation for overall cancer prevention,” said Dr. Andrew Chan, from Massachusetts General Hospital.

At this point it will be very reasonable for individuals to discuss with their physicians the possibility of taking aspirin to prevent gastrointestinal cancer, particularly people with family history added Dr. Chan.

The aspirin’s protective benefit appeared after five years of continuous use at dosages from 0.5 to 1.5 standard tablet a week or one low-dose tablet a day. The benefits related to other gastrointestinal tumors appeared after six years and at the same dosage level used to prevent cardiovascular disease, as reported by EurekAlert.

Patients also should be aware of the potential side effects of regular aspirin treatment and continue their regular screening test, said Dr. Chan. The recommended alternative for protection against cancer should not be viewed as a substitute for colonoscopy or other cancer screening tests, he added.

The downside of the aspirin

The pill has been considered lately as a wonder drug which can help to prevent a range of illness, according to previous studies. It is already taken by millions of people around the world to reduce the risk of heart attacks or even strokes, but the positive side does not stop there as aspirin is thought to also boost fertility and protect against dementia.

As a downside, studies from London’s Queen Mary University reported that the low-cost drug can have as side effects severe stomach bleeding and ulcers which lead to nearly 900 deaths a year.

This highlights the importance of consulting with an expert in the field to reach a recommended dose and avoid harsh consequences that could end up in serious damage to the patient’s health.

Source: The Telegraph