Aspirin may protect against cancer risk

Regular use of aspirin appears to reduce overall cancer risk and is particularly protective against colorectal and other gastrointestinal cancers, according to a new study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers and colleagues.

The study was published March 3, 2016 in JAMA Oncology.

The researchers analyzed health data collected from almost 136,000 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study over 32 years.

They found that regular aspirin users—people who took either a standard or a low-dose aspirin tablet at least twice a week— had a 3% percent lower risk of overall cancer than non-regular aspirin users. Regular aspirin use was also associated with a 19% lower colorectal cancer risk and a 15% lower risk of any gastrointestinal cancer. No reduction was seen in the risk of breast, prostate, or lung cancer.

Yin Cao, instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, research fellow at Harvard Chan School, and a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital was lead author of the study.

Read MGH release: Regular aspirin use found to protect against overall cancer risk