Thursday, 20 January 2011

Over 40? Consider taking a daily aspirin.

reposted from:
crabsallover highlightskey pointscomments / links.

I've covered the Peter Rothwell research into aspirin over the past couple months.

From Moblog:-

The whole approach to aspirin is likely to change over the next few years. Currently people take it to prevent vascular events (such as heart attacks and stroke) but it is likely that in five years people will be taking it to prevent non-vascular diseases like cancer as well.

The drug, which is over 110 years old, was originally formulated as a painkiller but researchers are increasingly finding new benefits for it in diseases ranging from heart disease to dementia.

Prof Rothwell, of the John Radcliffe Hospital and Oxford University, said the trials looked at the benefits of taking aspirin for five years but he suspects the effect of taking it for longer would ‘undoubtably be much larger’.

The Department of Health has announced that pilots of a new colorectal screening programme will start next year in people using a scope to look for changes in the bowel that could signal cancer. Prof Rothwell said use of aspirin would dovetail perfectly with the new programme as the drug prevents more cancers at the top of the bowel which will not be detected by the screening test. Other experts have now called for guidelines to be drawn up on how aspirin should be used to prevent cancer.

Dr Robert Benamouzig and Dr Bernard Uzzan, of the Avicenne Hospital, in Bobigny, France, wrote in an accompanying editorial: “This interesting study could incite clinicians to turn to primary prevention of colorectal cancer by aspirin at least in high risk-populations. Specific guidelines for aspirin chemoprevention would be the next logical step.”

Mark Flannagan, Chief Executive of Beating Bowel Cancer said: “These are very positive results. This was a big study over a long period of time and reinforces the message that aspirin may be important in significantly reducing the number of cases and deaths from bowel cancer.

“The results suggest that taking aspirin in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle might reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer. However, anyone considering starting a course of medication should first consult their GP.

“As Professor Rothwell suggests, a low dose of aspirin may fit well with the flexible sigmoidoscopy screening programme that will be launched by the Government next year. We will have to see how these results might be considered during the roll out of flexible sigmoidoscopy.”

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