An aspirin a day cuts cancer death rate by 50%

Popping an aspirin every day is likely to decrease risk of dying from a number of common cancers.

London: Popping an aspirin every day is likely to decrease the risk of dying from a number of common cancers, say Brit researchers.

British researchers have discovered the first definitive evidence that aspirin reduces overall death rates by a third after just five years`` use.

It was 50 percent for some cancers and the longer people took the drug, the better the protection.

Experts said healthy middle-aged people who start taking low-dose aspirin around the age of 45 or 50 for 20 to 30 years could expect to reap the most benefit, because cancer rates rise with age.

In addition, a 75mg dose - a quarter of a standard 300mg tablet - helps prevent heart attacks and strokes even in people who have not been diagnosed with cardiovascular problems.

Peter Rothwell, of the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, who headed the latest study, is convinced the ground rules have changed.

"These findings provide the first proof in man that aspirin reduces deaths due to several common cancers," the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.

"Previous guidelines have rightly cautioned that in healthy middle-aged people the small risk of bleeding on aspirin partly offsets the benefits from prevention of strokes and heart attacks, but the reductions in deaths due to several common cancers will now alter this balance for many people," he said.

The study found that after five years of taking aspirin, death rates fell by 34 per cent for all cancers and 54 per cent for gastrointestinal cancers.

Even after 20 years, the risk of cancer death remained 20 per cent lower in groups previously allocated aspirin for all solid cancers and 35 per cent lower for gastrointestinal cancers.

It took five years for the benefits to emerge for oesophageal (gullet), pancreatic, brain and some forms of lung cancer. However, it took ten years for protection to take effect in stomach and colorectal cancer and 15 years for prostate cancer.

The study appeared in The Lancet medical journal.