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The well-known pill that reduces the chances of cancer by up to 38%

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The largest and most comprehensive analysis to date published in the prestigious Annals of Oncology shows a 22% to 38% reduction in the risk of these cancers.

Aspirin is associated for years with a reduction in the risk of several cancers of the digestive system, including some very serious, such as cancers of the pancreas and liver. 

Now, this pooled analysis looked at data from 113 observational studies examining cancers in the general population, which were published by 2019, of which 45 involved bowel cancer and included 156,000 cases. 

In addition to bowel cancer, the cancers that were investigated included those of the brain and throat, esophagus, stomach, but also tumors of the liver, gallbladder and pancreas.

The researchers, led by Dr Cristina Bosetti (PhD), head of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the Mario Negri Oncology Department in Milan, found that regular aspirin use, defined as taking at least one or two tablets a week, was associated with a significant the risk of developing most of these tumors. Specifically, aspirin use was associated with a 27% lower risk of bowel cancer, a 33% reduced risk of esophageal cancer, a 36% reduced risk of stomach cancer, a 38% reduced risk of liver cancer (five studies) and 22% of pancreatic cancer (15 studies).

The study indicated that if the regular use of aspirin in the age group over 50 years increased from 25% to 50% could prevent thousands of deaths each year from bowel cancer, esophagus, stomach and pancreas.

Of course, further research is needed to support these findings, especially since the positive results have been associated with high doses of aspirin, over 325mg daily. 

“Our findings on bowel cancer support the idea that higher doses of aspirin are associated with a greater reduction in the risk of disease,” the study said. However, dose selection should also take into account the potential risk of bleeding in the stomach, which increases with high doses of aspirin.

Of course, taking aspirin to prevent bowel cancer or any other cancer should only be done in consultation with a doctor, who can take into account the medical profile of each person. This includes factors such as gender, age, family history, etc.

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