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Scientists have said people in their 40s who take a regular dose of aspirin reduce their risk of developing cancer.
According to research by Cancer Research UK, the drug’s effect can be maximised by taking it for at least 10 years before cancers normally develop cutting the risk of getting the disease later in life.
A review of dozens of studies involving more than 50,000 participants found people who had taken aspirin were less likely to develop bowel, breast and possibly other cancers including prostate.
Aspirin is able to block the effects of COX enzymes, which cause inflammation and are associated with a number of cancers.
While doctors advise healthy people against taking aspirin on a long-term basis because it can cause stomach ulcers, the Cancer Research UK team suggests most cancers develop after the age of 60, when the bad side effects of aspirin are likely to occur.
They added that taking aspirin in combination with other drugs known as proton pump inhibitors could lower the risk of stomach bleeding caused by the drug.
Professor Jack Cuzick, from the Cancer Research UK Centre for Epidemiology at Queen Mary, University of London, said: “Taking aspirin regularly in your mid-40s could maximise the effect this drug has on preventing cancer.”
Copyright Press Association 2009