Saturday, 11 December 2010

Risks of using daily aspirin to prevent cancer, heart attacks & strokes

crabsallover says 'The October and December 2010 research published in The Lancet by Peter Rothwell et al has made me look again at taking daily aspirin for at least five years (to reduce the risks of getting cancer by 21%).

But aspirin has serious side effects according to Janusz Jankowski of Cancer Research UK (SHLLBC blog) who says "aspirin can increase the chances of developing stomach ulcers – which can cause bleeding. In people over 75, this can be fatal. The true frequency of aspirin-related stomach ulcers varies depending on the method used to measure it – it can be anywhere from 0.1 to 2 per cent of people taking aspirin, every year....  Aspirin has other side-effects. In very rare cases, it can increase the chances of bleeding in the brain. About one in a hundred people taking aspirin have an allergic reaction."

I originally looked at taking aspirin (ASA) in 2006, to reduce risk of heart attack or stroke, but concluded that the risk of internal bleeding was too great. Now I'm trying to work out what are the absolute & relative risks and benefits of ASA. What are the risks of bleeding to death from stomach ulcers? Despite these risks should I take a daily 75mg ASA (81mg is a babies aspirin) until I'm 75 years to prevent risk of cancer, heart attacks and stroke, as the Peter Rothwell et al studies might suggest?

The 2008 Expert Consensus Document on Reducing the Gastrointestinal Risks of Antiplatelet Therapy and NSAID Use has details of risks of daily use of ASA.

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