Use of low-dose Aspirin/Salicylic acid in older individuals has been associated with lower risk of cancer incidence and has been proposed as a cancer preventive strategy. A PLOC cancer screening trial analysis by the National Cancer Institute in the US has shown a strong association between use of low-dose Aspirin 3 or more times a week and reduced risk of cancer mortality and all-cause mortality in older individuals.
Aspirin, extracted from the bark of Willow trees and first synthesized over 120 years ago, is a widely used drug for fever reduction and mild to moderate pain relief. Aspirin/Salicylic acid is widely used as a preventative adjuvant in individuals with a cardiovascular disease risk and has also been associated with a reduced risk of cancer.
Aspirin/Salicylic Acid & Cancer
A long-term follow up of clinical studies of aspirin/salicylic acid in prevention of cardiovascular events showed that aspirin/salicylic acid use also reduced the risk of colorectal cancer and several other cancers and risk of spread of cancer (metastasis) (Algra AM et al, The Lancet Oncol., 2012). Additionally, Professor Jack Cuzick, from the Centre for Cancer Prevention, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine in London, in an article in the Lancet Oncology in 2017, outlined various strategies for cancer prevention that included the use of low-dose Aspirin in older individuals along with weight control and physical activity. (Cuzick J, The Lancet Oncol, 2017)
Another recently published analysis from a large clinical study – Prostate,Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial, done by the Division of Cancer Prevention at the National Cancer Institute, United States, examined the association of Aspirin/salicylic acid use and risk of all-cause mortality, cancer related mortality and mortality linked to gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers (Loomans-Kropp HA et al, JAMA Network Open, 2019). They examined 146,152 individuals in this study, with 51% women, aged more than 65 years. The results of the study are summarized below:
- Use of low dose Aspirin 1-3 times a month was associated with reduced risk of death related to all causes as well as cancer.
- Use of low dose Aspirin greater than 3 or more times per week was associated with reduced risk of all-cause mortality, cancer mortality, and mortality related to colorectal cancers and gastrointestinal cancers.
- Use of low-dose Aspirin 3 or more times a week in individuals with a body mass index (BMI – calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) of 20 to 24.9 was associated with reduced risk of all-cause and cancer mortality.
- Among obese or overweight individuals with a BMI of 25 to 25.99, use of Aspirin more than 3 times a week also showed a reduced risk of cancer mortality.
In summary, Aspirin is prescribed to older individuals who have a risk for cardiovascular disease. The data from this analysis and many others shows that use of low-dose Aspirin/Salicylic acid could also be used as a cancer preventative strategy for older individuals who do not have a risk for cardiovascular or hypertension. The study also showed that use of low-dose Aspirin/Salicylic acid in individuals with gastric and colorectal cancers is beneficial in lowering the risk of mortality with cancer.
Cancer patients often have to deal with different chemotherapy side effects which affect their quality of life and look out for alternative therapies for cancer. Taking the right nutrition and supplements based on scientific considerations (avoiding guesswork and random selection) is the best natural remedy for cancer and treatment related side-effects.