Aspirin prevents hereditary cancer

University study (original press release) finds that aspirin halves the chance of hereditary bowel cancer.

The decade-long study, which involved scientists and clinicians from 43 centres in 16 countries and was funded by Cancer Research UK, followed nearly 1,000 patients, in some cases for over 10 years. The study found that those who had been taking a regular dose of aspirin had 50 per cent fewer incidents of hereditary cancer compared with those who were not taking aspirin.

The research focused on people with Lynch syndrome which is an inherited genetic disorder that causes cancer by affecting genes responsible for detecting and repairing damage in the DNA. Around 50 per cent of those with Lynch syndrome develop cancer, mainly in the bowel and womb. The study looked at all cancers related to the syndrome, and found that almost 30 per cent of the patients not taking aspirin had developed a cancer compared to around 15 per cent of those taking the aspirin.

Those who had taken aspirin still developed the same number of polyps, which are thought to be precursors of cancer, as those who did not take aspirin but they did not go on to develop cancer. It suggests that aspirin could possibly be causing these cells to destruct before they turn cancerous.

Of course, aspirin has the annoying habit of promoting ulcers in susceptible people so it would be nice if future research could discover just what is going on here.

This isn’t a criticism, really, but I find it odd how we use ‘cause’ and ‘prevents’ and similar words so loosely.

Interesting study, though.

What did you say? Sorry, I had a bottle full of asprin my mouth. ;-)

It works better if you take them out of the bottle first. Of course a whole bottle of aspirin guarantees you don’t get cancer. You will bleed out through your perforated stomach lining.