Aspirin cuts colon cancer death risk: study

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Taking aspirin not only can help keep colon cancer from coming back, but it also can lower the risk of dying from the disease, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

Aspirin already occupies a prominent spot in many medicine cabinets. Daily use of low-dose aspirin can stave off heart attacks and strokes, as well as chase away aches and pains.

Other studies have found it can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer. The latest study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows it can prevent colorectal cancer deaths.

Dr. Andrew Chan of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston and colleagues studied aspirin use in 1,279 men and women with colorectal cancer that had not spread to other parts of the body.

They found that people who took aspirin regularly after their diagnosis were nearly 30 percent less likely to die from their cancer than people who did not take aspirin. These people also were 21 percent less likely to die for any reason while they were in the study lasting more than two decades.

“These results suggest that aspirin may influence the biology of established colorectal tumors in addition to preventing their occurrence,” Chan said in a statement.

Chan said aspirin likely works by blocking the enzyme cyclooxygenase2, or COX-2, which promotes inflammation and cell division. Many tumors make an abundance of COX-2, he said.

Despite its benefits, aspirin can cause serious bleeding in the stomach. The team said further study in carefully controlled clinical trials should be done before the drug could be recommended for routine use by colon cancer patients.

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cancer killer in the United States behind lung cancer. It will kill an estimated 50,000 Americans this year, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Will Dunham

My Colon (Colorectal) Cancer Screening Day!

My Colon (Colorectal) Cancer Screening Day!

I’m going in for a colonoscopy today. I don’t have any symptoms or problems that I am aware of.

My mother had colorectal cancer so I have to be careful, since it has already occurred in my family.

Colon and Rectal Cancer

Beginning at age 50, both men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should use one of the screening tests below. The tests that are designed to find both early cancer and polyps are preferred if these tests are available to you and you are willing to have one of these more invasive tests. Talk to your doctor about which test is best for you.

Tests that find polyps and cancer

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years*
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years
  • Double contrast barium enema every 5 years*
  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years*

Tests that mainly find cancer

  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every year*, **
  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year*, **
  • Stool DNA test (sDNA), interval uncertain*

*Colonoscopy should be done if test results are positive.

**For FOBT or FIT used as a screening test, the take-home multiple sample method should be used. A FOBT or FIT done during a digital rectal exam in the doctor’s office is not adequate for screening.

People should talk to their doctor about starting colorectal cancer screening earlier and/or being screened more often if they have any of the following colorectal cancer risk factors:

  • A personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
  • A personal history of chronic inflammatory bowel disease (Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • A strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps (cancer or polyps in a first-degree relative [parent, sibling, or child] younger than 60 or in 2 or more first-degree relatives of any age)
  • A known family history of hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC)

I hope this article, and my willingness to be screened, will help you to make the possibly life saving decision to get yourself screened soon.

I have the results of my colonoscopy. I had one non-cancerous polyp removed. That polyp could have caused cancer down the road if it had been left there.

My story has a happy ending.

Now it’s your turn to be checked.

Bob Diamond R.Ph

http://www.bobthepharmacist.com


* The American Cancer Society was the source for most of the information in this article.

http://www.cancer.org/

Practical Medicine and Healthcare Information

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I have been a community and hospital pharmacist for over thirty years … trained in clinical pharmacy at one of the largest healthcare centers in the South. I am a consultant pharmacist for Medication Therapy Management (MTM) for the State of North Carolina.

I search the Internet and other sources for information that I think you should be aware of; that should be interesting and important for you to know. When I see something that meets these criteria, I will let you know about it in my next article.

If you don’t see some information that you need and it is within my areas of education and expertise, I will try to post an article or an answer as soon as possible! You can put your request in the “Contact Us” area located above the upper left column on this page.

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Bob Diamond R.Ph Pharmacist