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Monday, January 11, 2016

Does an Aspirin a Day Keep Prostate Cancer Away?

Men taking an aspirin a day for cardiovascular protection had a 39% lower risk of dying of prostate cancer, researchers analyzing data for m a large-scale study recently reported.
Dr. Christopher B. Allard, of Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, reported at the Genitourinary Cancers Symposium that taking three or more aspirin a week was associated with a 22 to 53% reduction in the risk of death of prostate cancer, and a 24% reduction in risk of developing metastatic prostate cancer. Allard and team analyzed 27 years of data from the Doctor's Health Study, which analyzed health and hospital records of 22,071 male physicians. During nearly three decades of follow-up, in this group of men there were 3,091 cases of prostate cancer resulting in 403 deaths.

Dr. Allard and his colleagues did not find that taking aspirin prevented prostate cancer from ever occurring, only that it reduced rates of death.

Regular aspirin intake may inhibit lethal prostate cancer, probably by preventing cancer progression," Allard said during a press briefing. "Men with prostate cancer who took aspirin regularly after diagnosis had a significantly reduced risk of death."

The Harvard study did not find that taking aspirin reduces risk of prostate cancer in all men, but another study, the REDUCE study, found that men known to be at risk for prostate cancer, having a high PSA but no cancer detected on biopsy, were 13% less likely to develop any prostate cancer and 20% less likely to develop "high-grade" prostate cancer if they took aspirin.

If you have a PSA over 4, then it might be a good idea to start taking at least a baby aspirin a day, but ask your doctor first. If you have issues with clotting factors, or if you have peptic ulcer disease, you and your doctor may need to look at other methods of reducing the risk of cancer, such as hormone treatments. There's a great deal more to be said about preventing prostate cancer. Please see my book, Minimal Medication, available in the Amazon lending library for free.

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