Monday 4 April 2016

Aspirin not a Cancer Preventative but May Offer Benefits to Women, says Marla Ahlgrimm

A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine suggests that aspirin doesn’t protect against cancer; other studies indicate it may aid in early detection. Marla Ahlgrimm explains:

Q:  Aspirin has long been thought to have anti-cancer benefits. What has changed?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Previous reports touting aspirin’s cancer prevention properties were preliminary, with no hard evidence behind them. These preclinical studies also failed to consider previous aspirin use. The Perelman School of Medicine’s project was more in depth and found no correlation between reduced instances of cancer and women taking low-dose aspirin.
Q:  What benefit does aspirin have for women with dense breast tissue?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Aspirin may decrease breast tissue density which can aid in the early detection of breast cancer.

Q: Does taking aspirin long-term have any negative side effects?
Marla Ahlgrimm: It can, yes. Extended use of aspirin may lead to stomach bleeding. Aspirin is used in certain groups to help prevent cardiovascular disease; however, even within these groups, it is not recommended for those with previous stomach disorders, including bleeding ulcers.
Q: Are there plans for more research in the future?
Marla Ahlgrimm: There are almost always research studies looking to prove the benefits of NSAIDs including aspirin and Naproxen. The most recent projects have left the door open for new randomized controlled aspirin trials as an aid in early detection of breast cancer in women with naturally dense breast tissue. Healthcare professionals would welcome a greater role in cancer detection/prevention by aspirin, as currently available drugs have significant and potentially dangerous side effects in addition to often inflated costs. Aspirin, by contrast, is readily available, very inexpensive, and despite its risks, may be a better alternative for some women.


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