According to a review of the existing scientific literature , patients with a wide range of cancers who take aspirin as part of their treatment could help reduce their risk of death by 20%.
Researchers from the University of Cardiff have been responsible for carrying out this systematic review of 118 observational studies published in patients with 18 different cancers .
The researchers pooled the results and found that in a total of about 250,000 cancer patients who reported taking aspirin, this was associated with a reduction of about 20% in cancer deaths . Lead author Peter Elwood, an honorary professor at Cardiff University who has studied the effects of aspirin for more than 50 years, notes:
In recent years, my research team and I have been impressed by the actions of aspirin on the biological mechanisms relevant to cancer, and these appear to be the same in many different cancers. Therefore, we wanted to review the available scientific evidence on the use of aspirin as an additional treatment for a wide range of cancers. Overall, we found that at any time after a cancer diagnosis, approximately 20% more patients taking aspirin were alive, compared to patients taking no aspirin.
The team also considered the risks of taking aspirin and wrote to an author in each of the articles asking about any episodes of stomach or other bleeding. A small number of patients had experienced bleeding, but there was no evidence of excess deaths attributable to bleeding in people taking aspirin, according to the review.