Aspirin Can Help Colorectal Cancer Patients
There are so many uses for the common aspirin. It helps with aches and pains, reduces fever, and is recommended for preventing heart attacks and strokes and now aspirin can help colorectal cancer patients. Aspirin is noted for its anticancer effects which suggest that regular aspirin use may help lower the risk of colon polyps however, a study published in this week's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association is linking aspirin use and colon cancer survival.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States after lung cancer. The National Cancer Institute estimates that nearly 50,000 Americans will die from this each year. The study showed that patients with colorectal cancer who used aspirin on a regular basis before and after a diagnosis were almost one-third less likely to die of the disease than non aspirin users. That is a 30% reduction in risk of cancer death.
The study was observational, meaning researchers simply observed what patients were already doing, such as taking aspirin regularly for headaches. They looked at about 1,300 people with colorectal cancer who'd been followed for an average of 12 years. All the patients in the study had surgery for colon cancer and some had chemotherapy.
"The paper is absolutely incredible, and I don't gush normally," said Dr. Alfred Neugut of Columbia University Medical Center in New York. “The study comes as close as it can to offering patients a way to help themselves." This is an incredible study for many reasons including aspirin is a pill that cost a mere penny and can help colorectal cancer patients.
About one-third of the tumors could be tested for Cox-2. Aspirin helped only those patients whose tumors tested positive for the enzyme. Which would make sense since aspirin blocks the enzyme, which is thought to play a role in cancer's spread.
"This is certainly something patients would want to discuss with their doctors," said Dr. Andrew Chan of Harvard Medical School in Boston, who led the study. Patients with cancer should always talk to their doctors before adding a treatment. The fact that aspirin can help colorectal cancer patients is something to be very excited about.