A recent article from the New York Times reports that men treated for prostate cancer who took aspirin regularly for other medical conditions were less likely to die of their cancer than patients who weren’t taking aspirin. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer occurring among men and the No. 2 cancer killer of men.
The new report adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that aspirin may play a beneficial role in the treatment and possibly the prevention of a variety of cancers including prostate and colon cancer.
In the new study looked at nearly 6,000 men who had localized prostate cancer and were treated with surgery or radiotherapy. Just over one-third of the men, or 2,175 of the 5,955, were taking aspirin.
Those taking aspirin were less than half as likely as those who were not to die of prostate cancer over a 10-year period. The prostate cancer death rate for those taking aspirin was 3 percent, the researchers found, compared with 8 percent for those who did not. The aspirin users were also significantly less likely to experience a recurrence of prostate cancer or have the disease spread to the bones, the study found.
The study is not the first to find a reduction in recurrence among prostate cancer patients who took aspirin. Researchers at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia reported this year that among 2,051 prostate cancer patients, those not using aspirin were twice as likely to experience a recurrence within 18 months, as detected by rising scores on the prostate-specific antigen test, a strong predictor of metastasis and survival.
While many Americans, inclduing myself, use baby aspirin to reduce their risk of heart disease, taking aspirin regularly is risky. Patients generally are advised to do so only when their cardiac risk is presumed to outweigh the risks, which include an increase in gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhagic stroke.
Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said he believes that aspirin’s anti-inflammatory properties may play a role in the prevention of both heart disease and cancer.
Bottom Line: Aspirin may be helpful for preventing heart diease and preventing recurrence of prostate cancer. It’s inexpensive, readily available, and has very risks and complications. Check with your doctor before embarking on aspirin therapy. Remember, an aspirin a day may keep the prostate cancer away