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The Power of Aspirin: December 26, 2012

Could a wonder drug for cancer be residing in our medicine cabinet? Health experts are beginning to think so. Research points to the power of aspirin.

“It’s well-known that is has benefits for cardiovascular disease including the prevention of stroke and heart attacks.  But within cancer itself, we’re finding out that it can prevent not only new diagnosis but also recurrence of cancers,” says Dr. Frank Rodriguez, oncologist on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
In the latest in a string of studies, Harvard researchers found taking low dose aspirin every other day cut the risk of certain cancers by more than 40%. Their focus was on bowel and stomach cancers. Adding to a growing list.
“We all think it’s related to decreasing inflammation. In terms of specifics, aspirin has been shown to decrease the recurrence of numerous cancers including breast cancer. We’ve seen data on colon cancer, as well as skin cancer.  You can see that the start of tumors in the liver, or liver metastasis, is actually delayed by the use of aspirin,” says Dr. Rodriguez.
Aspirin is one of the world’s oldest and cheapest drugs. It costs just pennies a day. But before you stock up, it’s important you take stock of your overall health.

“Every patient should speak to their doctor about what’s going to work best for them. Your stomach can be much more sensitive to the acids involved in digestion and can lead to gastritis and even ulceration. Some people may be taking other medications that may interact or may augment the side effects of aspirin,” says Dr. Rodriguez.

Another thing to consider: it takes between 5 and 10 years of regular aspirin use before the benefits kick in.