The Associated Press yesterday reported on a health study from England that looked at the risks of developing cancer among users of low-dose aspirin (75 mg) therapy for cardiovascular disease. The estimated risk for cancer in the groups taking the aspirin was lower than those not taking aspirin. There was 20% lower incidence of dying from lung and prostate cancer, and 35% lower from gastrointestinal cancers. The study did not include enough women to make the same estimation among women on breast cancer.
To my way of thinking this study confirms what David Servan-Schreiber argues in Anti-Cancer; A New Way of Life. In this absolutely fantastic book about how to prevent cancer he argues that cancers fuel themselves by acquiring use of the body's inflammation responses. So, it would make total sense that taking a small amount of aspirin, an anti-inflammatory, would impair cancer growth. If the cancer cells' growth can be impaired long enough, the body's immune system has a chance to eliminated those rogue cells before they can become full blown tumors. This is what is going on in everyone's body all the time.
Now, let me hasten to say -- aspirin is a common over-the-counter drug that most all of us have used, but there are some pretty substantial side effects possible from taking aspirin. Side-effect risk, even with low dose aspirin, includes severe gastric bleeding and significant reductions in blood clotting. So why take the chance of that? Rather than use aspirin long-term, why not go with natural anti-inflammatories that do not have these side effects? Two of these supplements are turmeric and fish oil/flax oil. Both of these can have the same anti-inflammatory effect as low dose aspirin.