Low Doses of Aspirin Taken Daily for 5 Years Potentially Lowers the Risk of Colorectal Cancer

A new Danish research study which was published in the latest edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine revealed that daily intake of low doses of aspirin for five years potentially lowers the risk of colorectal cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, colorectal cancer is the fourth most commonly occurring non-skin cancer in the US after lung, breast and prostate cancers.

Colorectal Cancer

About 132,700 Americans are reportedly diagnosed for colorectal cancer every year with about 49,700 resulting in fatalities. Globally, colorectal cancer is the third-most prevalent non-skin cancer with almost 1.4 million people being diagnosed every year, according to a study published recently in the International Journal of Cancer.

The Danish report claimed that a daily intake of 75-150 mg of aspirin reduced the risk of colorectal cancer by 27%. To understand the concept of low-dose; one tablet of the regular aspirin from Bayer contains 325 mg of aspirin. The study further added that other types of NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen and naproxen reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 30% to 45%. While earlier studies did suggest that using aspirin or other NSAIDs regularly could protect against colorectal cancer, the ideal dosage and duration of treatment was not conclusively reached.

So, the scientists referred to data collected from 10,280 adults in northern Denmark who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1994 and 2011. The researchers also identified 10 ‘controls’ for each patient; people who did not have colorectal cancer, but who shared the same gender, age and lived in the same neighborhood taking the number of participants in the study to more than 113,000.

The scientists also referred to national databases to get information regarding the prescription medicines that all these adults had taken. In Denmark, over 90% of low-dose aspirin and 85% of NSAIDs are prescribed by physicians, while the rest are OTC drugs and therefore difficult to quantify. Those patients who were prescribed low-dose aspirin at least two times had 6% lesser chances of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer as compared to patients who never took aspirin.

Aspirin

However, marked benefits were seen when low-dose aspirin is taken for five years or more; the risk of colorectal cancer for such adults reduced by 27% as compared to adults who did not take the aspirin at all. Dr. Soren Friis from the Danish Cancer Society Research Center and the lead researcher in this study also opined that the duration of low-dose aspirin treatment should be at least five years for substantial protection against bowel cancer.

The report also revealed that other NSAIDs offered better benefits. Adults who took high-intensity painkillers for a minimum of 5 years were 30% less likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer than adults who did not resort to NSAIDs. However, the researchers had no control over other factors such as diet, body mass index and alcohol use; nor did they have data regarding family history of the patients all of which could be contributors to the risk of colorectal cancer. Yet, the report claimed that the biological plausibility of their collected findings is high.

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