Expect a stampede at your local chemist’s as the good old aspirin hits the headlines again. This time experts from Oxford University say taking a quarter of an aspirin a day could reduce your risk of developing various cancers by an average of more than 20%.
The Oxford researchers’ study on the humble headache pill is getting health experts well and truly excited. Many people already take it to protect against heart disease and stroke, as it helps thin the blood.
But the study – which included 26,000 people – suggests taking a low dose (75mg) of aspirin reduces your chances of dying from any cause by 10%, including lung cancer (30% reduced risk over 20 years), bowel cancer (40%) and oesophageal or throat cancer (60%).
It’s greatest protective effect was found with gastrointestinal cancers, with rates in people having taken aspirin for more than five years being 54% lower than in those who didn’t take it.
Writing in the medical journal The Lancet, the researchers suggest it could help protect against breast and ovarian cancers too – but that their study didn’t include enough cases to produce a definitive result. Some experts believe aspirin helps the body find and kill cells that can develop into cancer (so theoretically it could help protect against any type of cancer).
As for the side effects associated with taking aspirin – stomach bleeding, for instance, or allergic reaction – the experts say they are small in comparison to the benefits.
So should you take it? Not until you’re over 40, the experts suggest.
Source: Modern Ghana