A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has stated that Aspirin reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence, spread of tumours and therefore death from the disease. Breast cancer is currently tops the list of cancers in women and if detected early, can be treated.
The ‘Nurses Health Study’ started in 1976 and recruited around 4000 nurses. This study evaluated the survival rates of nurses who took aspirin vis-à-vis those who did not. The study determined that those women who took aspirin 2 to 5 times per week reduced their risk of cancer spreading to other parts of the body by up to 60% . The same group of women had more than a 71% reduced risk of dying from breast cancer.
“This is the first study to find that aspirin can significantly reduce the risk of cancer spread and death for women who have been treated for early stage breast cancer. If these findings are confirmed in other clinical trials, taking aspirin may become another simple, low-cost and relatively safe tool to help women with breast cancer live longer, healthier lives, ” said Dr. Michelle Holmes of Harvard Medical School, who led the study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Although still inconclusive, researchers believe that aspirin and other drugs in the same class as aspirin, also called non-steroidalinflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (ibuprofen and naproxen, not acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol) reduce tumours by perhaps reducing inflammation.
However, Holmes further warned that available research data is insufficient in proving the efficacy of aspirin in improving survival rates in breast cancer patients. “You shouldn’t just start taking aspirin because of this for sure,” she said and added, “If you’re taking it for other reasons, you might be helping yourself in this way, too.” The research team also warned that patients should not take aspirin while undergoing radiation or chemotherapy because of the risk of side effects.
Written by Snigdha Taduri