London: Taking an aspirin daily may reduce
the risk of developing prostate cancer by almost a third, a
new study has claimed.
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre
in Seattle have found that a low dose of the anti-inflammation
pill regularly slashed the chances of getting the disease by
almost 30 per cent.
They believe the painkiller works by blocking the effect
of enzymes which cause inflammation thought to be a key factor
in the development of prostate cancer -- a type of cancer that
develops in the male reproductive system, the Daily Mail
In their research into whether aspirin can help prevent
prostate tumours from forming, the scientists examined and
compared two groups of men -- 1,001 prostate cancer sufferers
and 942 cancer-free volunteers of a similar age.
When the experts looked at how often men in both groups
took aspirin, they found higher usage among the cancer-free
It was found that men who had used aspirin at any point
in the previous 12 months were 21 per cent less likely to
develop a tumour.
And those who had taken aspirin frequently for five years
or more saw a 24 per cent decline in risk. But the biggest
benefits appeared to be among those regularly taking a low
daily dose of 75mg. Among this group, the chances of getting
prostate cancer dropped by 29 per cent, the experts found.
Other pain-killing medications similar to aspirin, which
are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, did not
have the same effect.
The results of previous studies on aspirin and the
disease have been mixed. Some have found that the drug can
reduce risk, others that it has no effect at all, while other
studies suggest it could even increase the risk.
Reporting on the latest study in the American Journal of
Epidemiology, the Seattle researchers said that aspirin
appears to dampen the effects of two particular enzymes that
stimulate inflammation in the prostate.
They wrote: "The anti-cancer effects are thought to occur
primarily-through the direct inhibition-of enzymes called
PTGS1 and PTGS2."
"Aspirin is a widely used and inexpensive medication. The
potential public health implications of an effective
preventive agent for prostate cancer are considerable."
Their findings are likely to be controversial because of
ongoing concerns that frequent aspirin use can increase risk
of life-threatening stomach bleeding.
Although doctors often recommend a low daily dose to
heart disease patients to help thin the blood and reduce the
risk of clots, some studies suggest that even taking small
amounts can increase the risk of stomach bleeding.