Participants were asked about their dietary and lifestyle habits, including their use of aspirin.
Among those with bowel cancer, 15.5 per cent were taking low-dose (75mg) aspirin. Meanwhile, 18 per cent of cancer-free volunteers were aspirin users.
Analysis revealed that use of any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as aspirin, was associated with a reduced risk of developing cancer.
Taking daily low-dose aspirin was associated with a 22 per cent reduced risk of developing bowel cancer.
However, NSAID use prior to being diagnosed with bowel cancer did not have any impact on survival from the disease.
The researchers concluded that long-term use of high-dose aspirin is not necessary to reduce the risk of bowel cancer.
Yinka Ebo, Cancer Research UK's health information officer, said: "This new research suggests that taking small amounts of aspirin each month could help protect against bowel cancer. But this doesn't mean that we should all reach for the medicine cabinet just yet because the risks may outweigh the benefits.
"Larger studies will need to confirm the findings. Scientists have previously shown that high doses of aspirin taken over many years could help cut the risk of bowel cancer. It's even more encouraging to think that a protective effect could be seen at lower doses which are less likely to cause harm."
Din, F. et al (2010). Effect of aspirin and NSAIDs on risk and survival from colorectal cancerGut DOI: 10.1136/gut.2009.203000