The Use of Aspirin and The Risk of Death and Cancer…

March 19, 2008

Diabetics are at risk for cardiovascular disease.  As such, an anticlotting agent like aspirin is always part of the drug regimen that we prescribe to our patients.  Studies have proven the use of aspirin to be beneficial in preventing heart disease and prolongoing survival to those at risk of cardiovascular disease in both men and women.

Now comes a new study that looked at the effect of taking aspirin on women without cardiovascular disease and to see if benefits are still present in terms of preventing heart disease or cancer.  This study involved 79,439 women who were enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study since 1980 published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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  • In women who reported current aspirin use, there was a 25% reduction in death from all causes compared with women who never used aspirin regularly.
  • The risk reduction was more apparent for death from cardiovascular disease at 38%.
  • The risk reduction for death from cancer was only 12%.
  •  Use of aspirin for 1 to 5 years was associated with significant reductions in cardiovascular mortality 
  • In contrast, a significant reduction in risk of cancer deaths was not observed until after 10 years of aspirin use.
  • The benefit associated with aspirin was confined to low and moderate doses and was significantly greater in older participants and those with more cardiac risk factors.

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The above study points out that women who take low to moderate doses of aspirin meaning less than 6 tablets per week have lower risk for death from all causes as well as a lower risk for death from cardiovascular disease within 5 years of taking the drug.  However the lower risk for death from cancer was only noted after a longer exposure of 10 years. 

This study continues to propagate the magic of aspirin as a “health” drug.  It helps by preventing a complication that can result in long lasting disability like heart disease and softens the long term economic burden to an already “burdened” risk patient due to polypharmacy arising from diabetes or hypertension.

More studies of similar or better study design should give us more bullets to use to support the long term use of aspirin especially to women or men without risk of cardiovascular disease.

An Aspirin A Day Keeps Your Heart Beat Everyday!

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2 Responses to “The Use of Aspirin and The Risk of Death and Cancer…”

  1. Ted Says:

    I am allergic to aspirin, what other alternatives can i take aside from aspirin? & I also get irrgular hearbeats, is that noramal?

  2. Doc Gerry Says:

    If you have heart disease with irregular heart beats and are allergic to aspirin, please check with your cardiologist. He may have two options for you: warfarin a blood thinner to prevent heart attack and stroke or Clopidogrel.


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