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Chalk up another aspirin benefit?

by Margery Gass | Aug 13, 2012
Taking a daily aspirin helps reduce your risk of dying from cancer, especially from cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, shows a new study from the American Cancer Society. But the 15% reduction this study found is a much more modest figure than the 37% in a study that made a big news splash last March. Still, it’s good news for women who are 65 and older who have been advised to take an aspirin a day for their cardiovascular health. Some younger women who already have cardiovascular disease or who are at high risk also fall into this category.

Does this good news mean everybody should start taking an aspirin a day? No, aspirin is a medication that also has side effects that need to be considered. It can cause stomach irritation, bleeding from the stomach that can lead to anemia, ringing in the ears, stroke, and other undesirable effects.  So if you’re younger than 65 and are interested in using aspirin for cancer prevention, talk first with your clinician to weigh the benefits and the risks.

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