Positives and Drawbacks to Aspirin Therapy are Well Documented
Aspirin’s benefits as a painkiller are well documented. Its prowess at potentially staving off cancers has also been a mainstay in research.
Indeed, a study from the University of Oxford, where randomized and controlled trial data from tens of thousands of men and women were analyzed, showed that after three years of daily aspirin use, people were almost 25% less likely to develop cancer than those who did not take aspirin. After five years, the risk of a cancer-related death dropped by 37%.
Another British study found that daily aspirin use over a six and a half year average period coincided with a 36% decrease in metastatic cancer rates, and a 46% drop in cancers such as colon, lung and prostate cancer. Some studies have even found a 75% reduction in esophageal cancer.
There are many other studies that have also shown casual links between a reduced risk of lung disease and heart disease.
However, and in no way meant to scare-monger, aspirin is not without its side effects.
Daily use of the painkiller has been associated with gastrointestinal bleeding and what are known as hemorrhagic strokes, or when a weakened blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding brain region. Other studies have also associated daily aspirin use with blindness among the elderly, specifically coinciding with an increased risk of developing “wet” age-related macular degeneration.
These dangers can be effectively managed by careful monitoring and, most scientists agree, are far outweighed by the benefits aspirin can offer, and that is why physicians continue to prescribe aspirin today.
The potential hitch for any future cancer treatments involving aspirin would obviously be how researchers would mitigate such risks. Research has also pointed out that long-term exposure to a daily dose of aspirin might decrease its negative effects so this is by no means an insurmountable issue and, given the wide array of side effects other cancer treatments are known to cause, it is unlikely aspirin’s potential harms will be overly concerning for researchers beyond how to minimize such risks.
What Does The Aspirin Study Mean for Breast Cancer Patients Today?
Right now, nothing.
It can not be emphasized enough that these findings are the very first stage in an investigation into whether the humble aspirin could provide an easy and affordable means to slow one of the most dangerous forms of breast cancer and help in the treatment of breast cancer as a whole. The study is not a green flag to abandon other forms of cancer treatment, nor is it a call to take up a daily aspirin routine without first consulting with a physician.
However, the study does provide yet another thread to follow in the continued battle against cancer. What is especially interesting about aspirin as a cancer inhibitor is how cheap and affordable it is, and how possibly revolutionary to our health an aspirin-based treatment for cancer could be.
Care2 has a range of articles detailing triple negative breast cancer from a survivor’s perspective. You can read about her journey, complete with detailed information on the treatments and procedures she went through in her personal struggle with this disease through the links below.
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