UK painkiller found to cut bowel cancer risk by 50%: ‘significant’

UK painkiller found to cut bowel cancer risk by 50%: 'significant'

In a groundbreaking study, aspirin, a daily pain reliever, reduced colon cancer by 50 percent. The international trial, known as CAPP2, involved Lynch syndrome patients from around the world and revealed that two aspirin a day, for an average of two and a half years, reduced the rate of bowel cancer in half Lynch syndrome is a type of hereditary cancer syndrome associated with a genetic predisposition to different types of cancer.

The study, led by experts from the Universities of Newcastle and Leeds and published in The Lancet, is a planned 10-year double-blind follow-up, supplemented in more than half of the recruits with comprehensive data from the National Cancer Registry for up to of 20 years

Professor Sir John Burn, from Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who led the research, said the findings further support this important guidance.

He said: “I had the idea 30 years ago that people with a genetic predisposition to colon cancer could help us test whether aspirin could actually reduce the risk of cancer.

“Patients with Lynch syndrome are at high risk and this provided statistical power to use cancer as an endpoint – they are like the canaries in the mine that warned the miners that there was gas.

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“It took a long time to start the trial and recruit enough people in 16 countries, but this study has finally given us an answer.

“Two aspirin a day for a couple of years gives protection that lasts more than 10 years and the statistical analysis has become much stronger over time.

“For people at high risk of cancer, the benefits are clear: aspirin works. Our new international trial, CaPP3, will test whether smaller doses work just as well.”

The results showed that when all the original recruits were included in the study, those taking aspirin had 42% less colon cancer.

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Among those who took aspirin for two full years, there were 50 percent fewer colon cancers.

The study included 861 patients with Lynch syndrome, which affects approximately one in 200 people in the population. These people have a genetic problem with DNA repair, which makes them much more at risk of cancers such as bowel and womb.

A group of 427 were randomized to aspirin continuously for two years and 434 were assigned to a placebo and then all were followed for 10 years. Among those who received two aspirins each day (600 mg), there were 18 fewer colon cancers, representing a 42.6 percent drop.

When the 163 Lynch syndrome cancers, such as endometrial or uterine cancer, were included in the analysis, there was an overall reduced risk of cancer of 24% in those taking aspirin, or 37 % in those who took aspirin for the full two years. .

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Professor Sir John said: “Aspirin has an important preventive effect on cancer, but this does not become apparent until at least four years later. With the help of these dedicated volunteers we have learned something of value to all

“Before anyone starts taking aspirin on a regular basis, they should check with their doctor first, as aspirin is known to carry a risk of stomach problems, including ulcers and bleeding.

“However, if there is a strong family history of cancer, people may want to weigh the cost and health benefits of taking aspirin for at least two years.”

What Cancer Research UK says

There is some evidence that aspirin may help reduce the risk of:

  • Have some cancers
  • The spread of cancer
  • People dying of cancer.

“But at present there are no national guidelines for the general population to take aspirin to prevent or treat cancer,” the charity notes.

Cancer Research UK also highlights the potential risks of taking aspirin: “There are risks with taking aspirin, as there are with all medicines. It can cause serious side effects for some people, such as internal bleeding.

“There are also other reasons why some people cannot take aspirin, for example because of other health conditions (contraindications).”

As the charity explains, some people with cancer already have a higher than normal risk of bleeding. Others may have a higher risk of developing blood clots.

What does Cancer Research UK recommend?

“Discuss the risks with your doctor if you’re thinking about taking aspirin.”

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