Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A baby aspirin a day...

Really good news today on the benefits of taking a low dose (81 mg) aspirin every day. Not only does it reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers at the University of Oxford report that in as little as three years, aspirin can significantly cut the risk of cancer and its spread. From the New York Times:
Researchers at the University of Oxford found that after three years of daily aspirin use, the risk of developing cancer was reduced by almost 25 percent when compared with a control group not taking aspirin. After five years, the risk of dying of cancer was reduced by 37 percent among those taking aspirin.

A second paper that analyzed five large randomized controlled studies in Britain found that over six and a half years on average, daily aspirin use reduced the risk of metastatic cancer by 36 percent and the risk of adenocarcinomas — common solid cancers including colon, lung and prostate cancer — by 46 percent.
The University of Oxford also notes that one risk of taking daily aspirin--the possibility of stomach bleeds--reduces over time and is clearly outweighed by the benefits. Their story here.

ALSO ON THE CANCER RESEARCH FRONT, here's an interesting article on the use of viruses to fight tumors:
Cancer cells are able to replicate wildly, but there’s a trade-off: They cannot ward off infection as effectively as healthy cells. So scientists have been looking for ways to create viruses that are too weak to damage healthy cells yet strong enough to invade and destroy tumor cells.



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