London: A new study has suggested that a daily aspirin tablet helps protect against bowel cancer.
Oxford University found it cut cases by a quarter and deaths by more than a third in a review of 14,000 patients.
But researchers said their findings "tipped the balance" in favour of taking them.
They followed up four study groups over a period of 20 years to identify the impact of regular small doses of the drug - the tablets given for medical reasons are often a quarter of a strength of those used to treat headaches.
They found it reduced the risk of the incidence of bowel cancer by 24 pc and of dying from the disease by 35 pc, reports the BBC.
The findings build on previous research on the issue, and come after the government announced earlier this month it was looking to start a new screening programme for bowel cancer for 55-year-olds.
Lead researcher Professor Peter Rothwell said that those with a high risk of bowel cancer, including the obese and those with a family history of the disease, should give aspirin treatment a particular consideration.
The Lancet has published the findings.