The long-term use of aspirin has been shown to significantly reduce the chance of developing digestive cancers, according to new research by the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
During the study involving over 600,000 people, researchers compared patients who were prescribed aspirin over a long period (for at least six months, average duration of aspirin prescribed was 7.7 years) with non-aspirin users and assessed the incidences of a number of cancers.
Those prescribed with aspirin showed a 47 per cent reduction in liver and oesophageal cancer incidence, a 38 per cent reduction in gastric cancer incidence, a 34 per cent reduction in pancreatic cancer incidence and a 24 per cent reduction in colorectal cancer incidence.
The effect of long-term use of aspirin on cancer incidence was also examined for cancers outside of the digestive system. Here, a significant reduction was shown for some (leukaemia, lung and prostate) but not all (breast, bladder, kidney and multiple myeloma) cancers.
The study’s lead researcher, Kelvin Tsoi, said: ‘The findings demonstrate that the long-term use of aspirin can reduce the risk of developing many major cancers.
‘What should be noted is the significance of the results for cancers within the digestive tract, where the reductions in cancer incidence were all very substantial, especially for liver and oesophageal cancer.’