Asprin: A Lifesaver for Prostate Cancer Patients?

Just in time for National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month (September), a new study has just found that taking aspirin regularly could help men who have been treated for prostate cancer live longer.

Other research has shown that anticoagulants (drugs like warfarin, clopidogrel, enoxaparin, and aspirin) affect cancer growth and metastasis. But this one, led by Dr. Kevin Choe, a professor of radiation oncology at the University Texas, Southwestern, and his colleagues, is the first to compare aspirin to other drugs.

Dr. Choe and his colleagues looked at nearly 6,000 men with prostate cancer who had been treated either with surgery or radiation. 37 percent of the men were taking an anticoagulant and their risk of dying from prostate cancer within ten years of treatment was significantly lower than for those not taking an anticoagulant. The anticoagulant group also had a much lower risk of the cancer recurring or spreading.

Digging a little deeper, Choe discovered that those dramatic results were mostly attributed to aspirin.

We know it’s very tempting to want to run out and stock up on aspirin, but please check with your doctor first. Taking any drug—even one as basic as aspirin (which a lot of men take daily to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke)—can have dangerous side effects. That’s why, despite the encouraging results, the researchers aren’t quite ready to recommend that aspirin become a routine treatment for prostate cancer.

In addition, we’d like to know whether taking aspirin could possibly prevent men from developing prostate cancer in the first place. But that question will likely remain unanswered for a while.

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