Aspirin as a protection against cancer?

Aspirin as a protection against cancer?

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British researchers celebrate what is probably the most famous drug in the world: aspirin

Aspirin is said to protect against cancer and heart attack. The protective effect of the most well-known drug in the world is said to outweigh its risks, which include bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract and brain. In the online edition of the specialist journal "Annals of Oncology", prevention expert Jack Cuzick from the Queen Mary University of London and his research colleagues estimate that the risk of cancer, heart attack and stroke can be reduced by a daily low dose of the active ingredient acetylsalicylic acid ( ASS) - between 75 to 325 milligrams over ten years - can reduce by seven percent in European women and by nine percent in male Europeans between the ages of 50 to 65 years.

Preventive use of aspirin could reduce the number of cancer and heart attack cases. If aspirin is used prophylactically, its protective function against cancer and heart attack outweighs the risks of health damage from bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract and in the brain, the researchers write. The drug was first synthesized in 1897 by the Bayer pharmaceutical company in its Rhine form in Elberfeld. Patent protection was revoked many years ago, so that other manufacturers also produce and offer ASS.

"For people at average risk aged 50 to 65 years who take aspirin over 10 years, there would be a relative reduction of 7 percent (women) and 9 percent (men) in the number of cancer cases as well as heart attacks or strokes- Events over a period of 15 years and an overall four percent relative reduction in all deaths over a period of 20 years, ”the researchers write in the specialist magazine.

Aspirin can cause bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract and brain. Using 100 women and 100 men as an example, the doctors show how the regular intake of ASA, starting at the age of 55, would have a statistical impact over the next 20 years: Of 100 men 11.5 would die of cancer regardless of aspirin intake. However, 1.5 of them could be saved by the means. In the event of cardiac death, 0.25 deaths from ASA could be prevented. This contrasts with the risks of aspirin, which are of a similar magnitude, especially due to the increased tendency to bleed, which can lead to stomach bleeding and stroke. "Bleeding is the greatest health damage associated with aspirin, and its risk and death rate increase with age," the magazine said. People over the age of 70 in particular have an increased risk of increased bleeding tendency.

"It has long been known that aspirin can protect against tumors such as colon cancer and esophageal cancer," quotes the online edition of the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" Cuzick. “So far, however, it has been unclear whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.” According to the newspaper, the researchers' euphoria could also be related to the fact that many of them work as consultants for Bayer. (ag)

Image: Rainer Sturm /

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Video: Low-Dose Aspirin and Reduced Risk for Cancer Metastasis