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Lowest Dose of Aspirin Reduces Colorectal Cancer Risk

Regular use reduces risk in general population, with effects apparent after five years

THURSDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Regular use of low-dose aspirin appears to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) in the general population, which is evident after just five years of use, according to a study published online Sept. 15 in Gut.

In a population-based, case-control study, Farhat V.N. Din, of the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, and colleagues assessed the relationship between nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use and CRC risk among 2,279 individuals with CRC and 2,907 controls. NSAID intake was categorized as taking more than four tablets per week of low-dose aspirin (75 mg), non-aspirin NSAIDs (NA-NSAIDs), or any NSAID for more than a month.

The investigators found that 354 patients with CRC (15.5 percent) were taking low-dose aspirin compared with 526 controls (18.1 percent). Use of low-dose aspirin was associated with a lower risk of CRC (odds ratio, 0.78), which was apparent after one year. Cumulative dose analysis confirmed a decreased risk of CRC after five years of consistent use. The protective effect increased with duration of use. The investigators also found that use of NA-NSAIDs or any NSAID was inversely associated with CRC risk. However, NSAIDs did not have a demonstrable effect on all-cause or CRC-specific survival.

"This is the first study to demonstrate a protective effect against CRC associated with the lowest dose of aspirin (75 mg per day) after only five years [of] use in the general population. NSAID use prior to CRC diagnosis does not influence survival from the disease," the authors write.

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