It has become a common known fact that daily aspirin can help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. But now research may be adding head and neck cancers to the list of diseases aspirin fights. The research suggests that taking a dose of aspirin just once a month may reduce risks of developing head and neck cancer by twenty-five percent.
Aspirin has long been known as a beneficial therapy for reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with narrowed arteries. But Aspirins history as a wonder drug do not stop there, since the 1960’s it has been suspected that Aspirin also has anti-cancer effects, when the medication showed to reduce the spread of cancer in a study on mice.
Researchers examined cancer data (from the National Cancer Institute Prostate Cancer, Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer and Ovarian Cancer trial) to determine the effects of aspirin reducing the risk of cancer. While daily dosages of aspirin showed no causal link, weekly or monthly dosages of aspirin were found to be beneficial at reducing risk, with weekly doses showing to reduce the risk of head and neck cancers by about 22%. The aspirin showed to be most effective at reducing the risk of throat cancer.
Previous research has shown that small doses of aspirin (as little as 75mg daily) over the course of 10 years may reduce the risk of other types of cancers including colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer, prostate cancer and certain types of lung cancer. While the correlation between the adequately timed dosages of aspirin and reduced risk of certain cancers is evident, researchers also note that further research is required to understand how the drug achieves such affects.
Managing the Risks
Medical professionals also warn that while aspirin may help reduce the risk of certain head and neck cancers, it will not counterbalance negative health habits such as smoking, chewing tobacco, poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption and exposure to HPV (human papillomavirus).
Other risk factors for head and neck cancers include using paan (an Asian chewing product), consumption of mate (a tea-like beverage from the South American diet), consumption of preserved or salty foods, and poor oral health.
Reducing the risk and prevention of head and neck cancers is vitally important, as most are diagnosed in late stages. In fact, more than 70% of throat cancers are discovered at a late stage limiting cancer treatment options. This group of cancers dramatically affects men over women, with men being 89% more likely to be diagnosed with head and neck cancers.
With weekly aspirin doses reducing the risk of head and neck cancers by as much as 22%, the study’s authors concluded `Aspirin may have potential as a chemopreventative agent”. Managing all risks of this group of cancer should be part of any preventative program and should focus on healthy lifestyle choices to improve the odds against cancer for all types of cancer from head and neck cancers to lung cancers and breast cancer.
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