Aspirin may help alleviate your headache or stomach pains, but it may also reduce your risk of cancer, according to a new report.
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Researchers from China recently conducted an experiment, published in the journal Gastroenterology, to determine how the drug can affect the disease.
To do so, they used records from the 1998 to 2012 National Health Insurance Research Database to examine the medical records of more than 600,000 patients. Their research including aspirin users, who had been prescribed the drug, and non-aspirin users.
The scientists observed the subjects for at least 10 years, keeping an eye out for gastrointestinal cancers, such as colorectal, liver, esophageal, pancreatic and and gastric. They also looked for non-gastrointestinal cancers like breast, bladder, kidney, lung and prostate.
After analyzing the results, they found that aspirin users were 47 percent less likely to have liver and esophageal cancer. They were also 38 percent less likely to get stomach cancer and 34 percent less likely to have pancreatic cancer.
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In fact, the authors wrote, "Long-term use of aspirin showed 24 percent to 47 percent significant reduction on major cancers in the [gastrointestinal] tract.”
Additionally, they were able to link aspirin with the reduction of some non-gastrointestinal cancers, such as leukemia, lung and prostate cancer. However, the correlation was not found with breast, kidney or bladder cancer.
Why does aspirin have this effect?
Aspirin can reduce tissue growth, which can be precursors to certain cancers, the researchers said.
Previous studies have noted that it “has emerged as the most likely NSAID for use in chemoprevention because of its known cardiovascular benefit and available safety and efficacy data.”
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Analysts said they believe their findings can reduce the chances of developing cancer, so they are “pursuing prospective investigations for further confirming the findings.”