Aspirin therapy to prevent heart attacks and colorectal cancer

AspirinFor years, doctors have recommended daily aspirin to lower cardiovascular risk in certain men and women. Now, for the first time, an expert panel is recommending aspirin therapy to prevent heart attacks and colorectal cancer.

The guideline for those at high risk of heart disease, published Monday in a draft report [1] from the United States Preventive Services Task Force, is the first time a major American medical organization has issued a broad recommendation to take aspirin to prevent a form of cancer. The move follows a growing body of evidence that suggests that aspirin may be a potent yet overlooked weapon in the war against colorectal cancer.

Even so, the draft guidelines are drawing criticism from some experts who worry that healthy people who take aspirin also expose themselves to its very serious side effects, including stomach bleeds and hemorrhagic strokes or brain bleeds. Others say there are far better proven ways to prevent heart attacks and thwart colon cancer, such as cholesterol-and blood-pressure-lowering drugs to reduce heart risk and screening colonoscopy to identify precancerous polyps.

Dr. Eric Jacobs of the American Cancer Society said that there was also good evidence that aspirin may lower the risk of esophageal cancer, and fairly good evidence it lowers stomach cancer risk. There is even some evidence it may slightly lower the risk of common cancers such as breast, prostate and lung cancer, though that evidence is too weak to draw conclusions.

“No major health organization has previously recommended the use of aspirin to prevent cancer,” Dr. Jacobs said, and there are no recommendations directed at both cardiovascular risk and cancer. “This is a new approach that makes a great deal of sense.”

What do you think? The use of aspirin in prevent heart attacks and colorectal cancer could do more harm than good? Share your opinion with us here [2].

Quelle: New York Times Health