Long-term Use of Aspirin and the Risk for Cancer



“This is part of an abstract of original research publish in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA)  Oncology. The researchers studied 136,000 healthcare professionals for 26 years. Keep in mind there are side effects of chronic aspirin intake in some people. Consult your primary care physician about taking aspirin chronically if you have other health conditions.” Bill Chesnut, MD

 Population-wide Impact of Long-term Use of Aspirin and the Risk for Cancer

Two large US prospective cohort studies, the Nurses’ Health Study (1980-2010) and Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2012), followed up 135 965 health care professionals (88 084 women and 47 881 men, respectively) who reported on aspirin use biennially. The women were aged 30 to 55 years at enrollment in 1976; the men, aged 40 to 75 years in 1986. Final follow-up was completed on June 30, 2012, for the Nurses’ Health Study cohort and January 31, 2010, for the Health Professionals Follow-up Study cohort, and data were accessed from September 15, 2014, to December 17, 2015.

Key Points

  • Question: What are the potential benefits of aspirin for the prevention of cancer?
  • Findings: In 2 large, prospective cohort studies, regular use of low doses of aspirin for at least 6 years was associated with a significantly lower risk for overall cancer, primarily tumors of the gastrointestinal tract. Although aspirin may prevent colorectal cancers irrespective of screening, substantially more cases appear to be prevented among those who do not undergo screening.
  • Meaning: Long-term aspirin use was associated with a modest but significantly reduced risk for cancer, especially gastrointestinal tract cancer, and may complement the benefits of colorectal cancer screening.