By Steven Reinberg
Not necessarily, according to new research.
For patients with slow-growing, non-aggressive cancer, aspirin did appear to stop the cancer from progressing. A slight benefit was also seen among men who took aspirin for more than five years, the researchers found.
“Aspirin is widely used due to its established protection against cardiovascular diseases,” said lead researcher Charlotte Skriver, from the Danish Cancer Society Research Center in Copenhagen. “Our results, however, do not suggest an overall protective effect of low-dose aspirin used in the year after prostate cancer diagnosis on mortality from prostate cancer.”
Skriver said any potential benefit from low-dose aspirin needs to be weighed against the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding linked with its use.
The findings were published March 4 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Dr. Anthony D’Amico, a professor of radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said the study doesn’t take into account the treatment patients received — an important point, because treatment directly affects survival.
It’s not only the treatments themselves, but the combinations used and the duration that can make a difference, D’Amico said.
“This is not definitive, because there is too much lacking in terms of treatment specifics,” he said. “It’s interesting, but it doesn’t mean you should take an aspirin.”
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SOURCES: Charlotte Skriver, M.Sc., Danish Cancer Society Research Center, Copenhagen; Teemu Murtola, M.D., Ph.D., professor, surgery, University of Tampere, Finland; Anthony D’Amico, M.D., Ph.D., professor, radiation oncology, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Annals of Internal Medicine, March 4, 2019