Study: Low dose aspirin may help reduce cancer risk

Photo source: MGN

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Another reason to ask the doctor about taking a daily aspirin; it may benefit women at risk for breast cancer.

It's one of the largest studies ever done; researchers looked at more than 86,000 women for more than two decades to see what role aspirin may play in reducing cancer risk. It's a common pill people have likely already have in their medicine cabinet for "pain, fever, inflammation." Now, breast cancer researchers such as Dr. Joan Garrett said when it comes to taking a daily dose of slightly more than about 80 milligrams of aspirin and not smoking, it can be effective in terms of reducing cancer risk.

And not just any cancer, it appears to lower a woman's risk of dying from breast cancer; not a lot but enough to be significant Dr. Garrett said. People could add daily aspirin perhaps to other lifestyle changes such as regular exercise for less waist weight, a healthy diet, and not smoking. She pointed out that the research simply added to what was already known: that aspirin may make a difference in heart disease and perhaps other cancers.

This was one of the first studies to look at a large number of women and specifically look at breast cancer. Aspirin appears to fight what's commonly called the silent killer in many diseases: inflammation. Aspirin inhibits enzymes that increase inflammation in the body. Inflammation appears to invite cancer to grow.

"Think of cancer as being fire for your cells, and inflammation is fuel that will increase that fire," said Dr. Garrett.

When fire is not increased with fuel, it may not thrive or continue to spread as quickly. It was a whole new concept in slowing down cell growth.

Aspirin should not be taken without first consulting your doctor.

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