Aspirin cuts cancer rates in people with hereditary risk by more than half
Research has finally provided proof that taking a regular dose of aspirin reduces the long-term risk of cancer in people with a family history of the disease by around 60 per cent.
The international collaboration reveals that the benefits only become obvious several years after taking the aspirin.
Evidence of the benefits of aspirin has been accumulating for over 20 years but these are the first results from a randomised controlled trial assessing the effect of aspirin on cancer.
Late last year an analysis of people who had taken part in the early aspirin trials to prevent heart attacks and strokes showed that in subsequent years they developed fewer cancers. The missing piece of the jigsaw was a randomised trial specifically looking at its effect on cancer.
The study involving scientists and clinicians from 43 centres in 16 countries followed nearly 1,000 patients, in some cases for over 10 years. The study focused on people with Lynch syndrome, an inherited genetic disorder which affects genes responsible for detecting and repairing damage in the DNA. Around half of these people develop cancer, mainly in the bowel and womb.