Population-wide Impact of Long-term Use of Aspirin and the Risk for Cancer

The point of this article focused on the impact of long-term aspirin and the risk of cancer. The study stemmed from the recommendation of the US Preventive Services Task Force that aspirin can be used to help prevent colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease. The study wanted to address the effectiveness of aspirin in other cancers. In the study they took two large US prospective cohort studies that had over 135,000 participants. The studies were long term and done over many years and accessed medical records to evaluate a patient’s different types of cancers. The study was completed over 32 years. By the end of the study it was found that aspirin can reduce the overall risk, especially in GI cancers.

I think this study was important since aspirin is such a widely utilized and recommended medication by doctors and pharmacists. Aspirin is primarily recommended for heart protection and health, but now shows an even added benefit of cancer prevention. As pharmacists this gives another important tool for showing patients the benefit of taking aspirin on a regular basis. While I think this is an important indication, I do no think there is enough evidence to support aspirin therapy simply for cancer prevention. More research should be done to continue to weigh the pros and cons of aspirin therapy for the prevention of cancer.


Cao Y, Nishihara R, Wu K, et al. Population-wide Impact of Long-term Use of Aspirin and the Risk for Cancer. JAMA Oncol. Published online March 03, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.6396.


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