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Aspirin May Stem Deaths From Colorectal Cancer
Date:8/11/2009

Study suggests a role for aspirin in prevention as well as treatment,,

TUESDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Taking aspirin might not only reduce the risk of getting colorectal cancer, but it also might lower the odds of dying if you have it, new research suggests.

People with colorectal cancer who took aspirin regularly had a 29 percent lower risk for death from the cancer and a 21 percent lower risk for death from other causes, according to the research, reported in the Aug. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

After an average of about 12 years, 35 percent of the 549 people with colorectal cancer who took aspirin had died. That included about 15 percent whose death was attributed to the cancer.

Among 730 people with colorectal cancer who did not take aspirin, 39 percent had died, including 19 percent from the cancer.

The overall five-year survival rate was 88 percent for people who used aspirin, compared with 83 percent for those who did not. The 10-year survival rate was 74 percent for aspirin users and 69 percent for those who didn't use aspirin.

Researchers used data on 1,279 men and women with stage 1, 2 or 3 nonmetastatic colorectal cancer who were participating in two large studies, the Nurses Health Study that began in 1980 and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study that began in 1986.

"It's a pretty significant benefit and does suggest aspirin may have a role in treatment of patients with established colorectal cancer as well as for the prevention of developing initial tumors," said the study's lead author, Dr. Andrew Chan, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Among 719 participants who had not used use aspirin before their cancer diagnosis, starting to take it once they'd been diagnosed was associated with a 47 percent lower risk for dying from the
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