An Aspirin A Day May Lower Cancer Death Risk

People who consumed aspirin regularly may cut their risk of dying from certain cancers by as much as 21%. This is the first study that showed daily aspirin use can cut the risks of dying from other cancers, not just colon cancer which previous studies have shown.

Eric Jacobs, PhD, American Cancer Society strategic director of pharmacoepidemiology stated, “This study provides important new evidence that long-term daily aspirin use may lower deaths from certain cancers in addition to colon cancer.”


The study which followed 25,570 patients for 9 years was led by researchers from John Radcliffe Hospital and the University of Oxford and was based on data from 8 clinical trials.

After 5 years, the researchers discovered that patients who were taking aspirin regularly had a 21% lower risk of dying from cancer compared to those not taking it. At 20 year follow-ups, the aspirin group had 20% fewer deaths from solid tumor cancers than non users.

The decrease in deaths for specific cancers was:

  • 30% for lung cancer
  • 40% for colorectal cancer
  • 60% for esophageal cancer.

Based on the research, it wasn’t clear whether breast, prostate, brain and pancreatic cancers gained the same protective effect.

The study showed this benefit regardless of age, sex, smoking status or aspirin dose. The positive effect appeared to increase the longer patients were taking the aspirin. The study did have a few limitations. Only one-third of the study participants were women, so it’s not clear whether aspirin has any effect on gynecological or breast cancers.

Source: “Effect of daily aspirin on long-term risk of death due to cancer: analysis of individual patient data from randomized trials.” Published December 7, 2010 in The Lancet. First author: Peter M. Rothwell, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

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