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Can Aspirin Prevent Cancer?

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We all know an aspirin a day is supposed to help keep heart disease away, but what about cancer?

New studies published this week in a British medical journal find that taking aspirin every day may help prevent cancer.

"The aspirin reduces the risk of one's first cancer by 25 percent or more and that's really quite impressive," said Dr. Victor Vogel of Geisinger Medical Center.

He is the Director of the Cancer Institute at Geisinger Medical Center near Danville.  He said the studies by researchers in Britain show aspirin appears to prevent cancer in three out of every 1,000 patients.

"This could have a major impact on new cancer cases moving forward.  The other thing we know about aspirin is it's cheap, safe and available," said Dr. Vogel.

The studies were published in "The Lancet" which is a world-wide medical journal.  They show that an aspirin regimen can be effective in reducing the spread of cancer, especially colon cancer, but the aspirin can have side effects, including internal bleeding.

"The risk of bleeding, especially with the lower 81mg dose is so low that I think the benefits far outweigh the risks," said Dr. Vogel.

He added the findings convinced him to take aspirin every day, and he said he will advise his patients to do the same.

"It's believable.  The science and statistics are sound.  There's no major flaws with the study.  It's a simple, safe, effective strategy," said Dr. Vogel.

You should talk to your own doctor to see if taking aspirin every day is right for you.