Aspirin Shown to Improve Survival in Breast & Colon Cancer

By Michael A. Smith, MD

Aspirin was first patented as a powder on February 27, 1900. In 1915, it was introduced to the United States as a tablet by the German pharmaceutical company, Bayer. It’s been used ever since for mild aches and pains and for reducing inflammation, becoming one of the most popular medications in history.

In the mid-1980s, doctors theorized that aspirin, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, might play a role in cardiovascular disease. Turns out they were right. Aspirin has since been shown in several studies to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Is there anything else that aspirin could possibly do? The answer is yes. According to recent research, aspirin may very well help fight against cancer too.

Aspirin Decreases Cancer Risk

Cancer is one of the most feared words in the English language for good reason. A diagnosis of cancer often means months and even years of harsh treatments and horrible side effects.

I watched my mom suffer from endless chemotherapy sessions and wither away from lung cancer, all in vain. She died just a few months before my high school graduation. My family knows cancer.

It may be too late for my mom, but it’s not too late for you and your loved ones. Research is now showing that daily aspirin users have a significant reduced risk of many cancers. Here’s a list of cancers that aspirin protects against the percent shown is the risk reduction):1

  • 63% colon cancer
  • 39% breast cancer
  • 36% lung cancer
  • 39% prostate cancer
  • 73% esophageal cancer
  • 62% stomach cancer
  • 47% ovarian cancer
Pretty impressive, right? Let’s be clear though that we’re not suggesting that you start taking aspirin — that decision should be between you and your doctor. However, it’s pretty hard to argue with the statistics. For this reason, talking with your doctor about taking a baby aspirin may not be a bad idea at all.

But what if you already have cancer? Could aspirin help then? Well, the initial verdict is in for at least two types of cancer: breast and colon.

Aspirin Improves Survival in Breast Cancer

Over 4,000 women with breast cancer were studied for their aspirin intake.2 Those who took aspirin 2-5 days per week for at least 1 year had a 71% decreased risk of death compared to those not using aspirin.

The women who took aspirin regularly were likely taking it for heart disease prevention, and the typical dose for that purpose is 81 mg per day. But the effects of this dose certainly seem to go way beyond protecting the heart.

The authors of the study concluded the following: “Taking aspirin may become another simple, low-cost, and relatively safe tool to help women with breast cancer live longer, healthier lives."2

Aspirin Improves Survival in Colon Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Almost all colon cancer starts in glands in the lining of the colon and rectum.

There is no single cause of colon cancer. Nearly all colon cancers begin as noncancerous (benign) polyps which slowly develop into cancer. Risk factors include age, diets high in saturated fats, inflammatory bowel disease and family history.

Over the years, traditional medicine has not been able to increase survival in any significant way … until now. Yes, you guessed it ... aspirin has been shown to increase survival of this deadly disease.

Those with colon cancer who started using aspirin after their cancer was diagnosed had a 47% reduced risk of death from colon cancer. People whose cancers expressed COX-2 had a dramatic 61% decreased risk of death from colon cancer.3

How Does Aspirin Fight Against Cancer?

The pro-inflammatory enzyme Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is overactive in many types of cancers. For example, COX-2 activity is 60 times greater in pancreatic cancer cells and 150 times greater in head and neck cancer cells.4,5

Cancer researchers are zooming in on COX-2 activity as a fuel for cancer growth. The theory is that COX-2 activity stimulates the formation of new blood vessels, which feeds the cancer cells with fresh, oxygenated blood.6 This fresh supply of blood enhances the ability of cancer cells to spread throughout the body.7

So what does this have to do with aspirin? Well, aspirin actually inhibits COX-2. Cancer specialists believe that by inhibiting COX-2 action, aspirin is able to help fight against the spread of cancer cells, which will ultimately increase survival.

Is Aspirin Right for You?

Aspirin is not for everyone. If you have a bleeding disorder or are taking prescription blood thinners, you need to speak with your own doctor before starting an aspirin regimen.

Whether it’s right for you or not, the mounting research is certainly worth considering. Rest assured, we’ll keep you posted with updates as more information becomes available.



Had you heard about aspirin’s cancer-fighting potential before reading this post? What do you think? Share your take in the comments below.

References

  1. Oncol Rep. 2005 Apr;13(4):559-83.
  2. J Clin Oncol. 2010 Mar 20;28(9):1467-72.
  3. JAMA. 2009;302(6):649-658.
  4. Cancer Res. 1999 Mar 1;59(5):987-90.
  5. Cancer Res. 1999 Mar 1;59(5):991-4.
  6. Cell. 1998 May 29;93(5):705-16.
  7. Cancer Res. 2002 Mar 1;62(5):1567-72.

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11 comments:

pitselah said...

Thank you for this heartfelt and informative post, Dr. Smith!

Life Extension said...

It's my pleasure. And thank you for reading the posts. We are all in this together!

natural breast augmentation said...

Is it healthy to take aspirin everyday? Would it not be harmful to our health?

Life Extension said...

Great question. Studies show that a baby aspirin a day (81 mg) is safe and effective. As a matter of fact, it's one of our top 10 suggestions.

Latavi said...

I found this blog rather interesting. The details and precise suggestions are precisely what I was hoping to find.

илья колдунов said...

long ago I can't understand: why aspirin protects from a heart attack and a stroke, and similar nonsteroid anti-inflammatory preparations (an ibuprofen, diclofenac and others) - on the contrary, increase risk of cardiovascular complications?

LifeExtension said...

илья колдунов - That's a very good question! It's because the Cox-2 inhibitors create an overproduction of byproducts that damage the arterial wall and induce blood clotting. Here's more information: http://ow.ly/nxvHm

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this very informative article. I just wish my oncologist or breast surgeon would have told me. I was diagnosed with invasive lobular breast cancer and have had 2 surgeries now. I could of been taking it since my diagnosis in March. But I have been taking curcumin at least. I am going to begin taking baby aspirin immediately. Is there anything else I can take to keep breast cancer away forever?

LifeExtension said...

Anonymous - Glad the article was helpful. Nutrient suggestions include flax seed, CoQ10, green tea extract, and vitamin D. Here's more information on the topic: http://ow.ly/p4p26

Cancer health said...

If aspirin could reduce the risk of cancer why would people put lots of money on their cancer treatment.

Life Extension said...

Cancer health - We suspect it has to do with money. Traditional cancer treatments are big business.

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