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Long-Term Aspirin Use May Cut Risk of Some Cancers

Colorectal, prostate and breast cancer risk lower in long-term aspirin users

THURSDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term daily use of adult-strength aspirin may slightly lower the risk of colorectal and other cancers compared to non-aspirin use, researchers report in the April 18 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Eric J. Jacobs, Ph.D., of the American Cancer Society, and colleagues studied cancer risk and long-term daily use of 325 milligrams of adult-strength aspirin in 146,113 elderly men and women. Long-term use was defined as at least five years of daily aspirin use.

The researchers found that between 1992 and mid-2003, almost 18,000 participants had cancer diagnoses. Cancer incidence was lower in male long-term aspirin-users (risk ratio 0.84), but not females (risk ratio 0.86). Overall cancer incidence was 1,858 per 100,000 person-years for male aspirin-users; 2,163 for male non-users; 1,083 for female aspirin users and 1,169 for female non-users. Overall, colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer incidence was lower (risk ratio 0.68) for aspirin-users, although the results for breast cancer alone were not statistically significant.

"Long-term daily use of adult-strength aspirin may be associated with modestly reduced overall cancer incidence in populations among whom colorectal, prostate, and breast cancers are common," the authors wrote.

In an editorial, Maria Elena Martinez, Ph.D., of the University of Arizona, Tucson, and a colleague warned "the potential benefit of aspirin chemoprevention needs to be carefully weighed against its harms."

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