There have been several studies that have shown a reduction in the risk of cancer, through regular use of aspirin. The problem is that aspirin in itself can cause serious side effects such as gastro-intestinal bleeds and stomach ulcers, so doctors have been careful to just advise all patients to take a daily dose of aspirin.
A team of scientists from Queen Mary’s hospital in London, Led by Dr Jack Cuzick, head of cancer prevention, have looked at this issue again and they have comcluded that the benefits of taking daily aspirin outweighs the potential risks. The study also showed that daily aspirin can significantly reduce the risk of cancers such as gastro intestinal, stomach and bowel cancers.

Aspirin is most commonly used as a anti inflammatory and for pain relief. It is also used as a blood thinner, for patients at high risk of heart attacks and strokes. The reduction in cancer risk has been well studied in the past but what this team did was to look at the benefits compared to the risks associated with taking daily aspirin.

Results revealed that in people between the ages of 50-65 who took a low dose aspirin daily ( 75mg-100mg) the number of bowel cancers could be reduced by 35% and stomach cancer risk reduced by 30%. It is estimated that daily aspirin could cut cancer risk as well as heart attack and stroke risk on the whole by 9% in men and 7% in women, reducing deaths from these diseases by about 4% over a 20 year period.

However it was noted that the risk for gastro intestinal bleed, does increase with daily aspirin use. It found that in people over the age of 60 who took daily aspirin for at least 10 years the risk of these bleeds increased by 1.4%. However this was only likely to be life threatening in around 5% of these patients.

Furthermore daily aspirin use also significantly increased the risk of stomach ulcers by around 30-60%.
The study concluded that whilst there are risks associated with daily aspirin that could not be ignored , that daily aspirin was the most important thing we could, do other than stopping smoking and reducing obesity, to reduce cancer risk.

Further research into this will now be done. My advice would still be to see a doctor and discuss the potential benefits and risks before starting daily aspirin, but it does seem that for some people at least, this could be a good idea.