Aspirin cuts death risk for colon cancer patients

Nutrition — By on August 12, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Score another win for the humble aspirin. A study suggests colon cancer patients who took the dirt-cheap wonder drug reduced their risk of death from the disease by nearly 30 percent.

Aspirin already is recommended for preventing heart attacks and strokes, along with its traditional use for relief of minor aches and pains. Its merit in colon cancer prevention has been tempered by its side effects, bleeding from irritation of the stomach or intestines.

The new study suggests patients who already have colon cancer may benefit from taking aspirin along with surgery and chemotherapy. In a separate analysis of a subgroup of patients, only those with the most common type of tumor, those that overproduce the Cox-2 enzyme, saw a benefit.

“The paper is absolutely incredible, and I don’t gush normally,” said Dr. Alfred Neugut of Columbia University Medical Center in New York who has done similar research but was not involved in the new study. In an accompanying editorial, Neugut wrote that the study “comes as close as it can to offering patients a way to help themselves.”

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