Aspirin may be more than just a pain reliever as indicated by a new study. According to the newest study on aspirin, in a new analysis from the long-running Physicians Health Study at Harvard University, researchers found that men who who took a minimum of three aspirin tablets a week reduced their risk of developing or dying from advanced prostate cancer. While the aspirin itself did not prevent prostate cancer, it does seem to keep it from developing into its more aggressive form. Researchers analyzed data from 22,071 men who participated in the study. During a follow-up of 27 years, 3,193 of participants who were diagnosed with prostate cancer, at least 403 among them had a lethal form of the disease, defined as cancer that had metastasized or spread beyond the prostate or that resulted in death.
The analysis also found that regular aspirin use resulted in a 24% lower risk of developing lethal cancer after being diagnosed with an early stage of the disease, and a 39% reduced risk of dying from prostate cancer. Although when it came to the overall incidence of prostate cancer among the participants of the study aspirin seemed to have little effect. Lead author of the study Dr. Christopher Allard a urologic oncology fellow at Harvard Medical School stated:
“It was after diagnosis of prostate cancer that there appeared to be a benefit. It doesn’t affect the incidence, but it affects the progression.”
Dr. Allard along with several other cancer experts cautioned that the observational study did not necessarily prove aspirin’s preventive role in regards to prostate cancer. Nor is it certain what dosage of aspirin contributed to the results. The only hypothesis Dr. Allard could offer in reference to the findings was that by inhibiting platelets, aspirin essentially blocks tumor cells from metastasizing to the bone. So while the results have been remarked as being “compelling”, anyone looking to start an aspirin regimen should confer with their doctor first as regular aspirin use is associated gastrointestinal side effects that can develop into serious complications in some patients.