Aspirin Use May Prevent Colorectal Cancer


Study explores the efficiency and accuracy of aspirin in colorectal cancer prevention.

Advanced colorectal polyps are a major risk factor for colorectal cancer, the third most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Prior meta-analyses of the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease have suggested that aspirin reduces the risk of colorectal cancer, although there were previously no large-scale individual trials designed to test its accuracy in colorectal cancer prevention.

In order to explore whether patients are adhering to US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations and guidelines in using aspirin for prevention, researchers from Florida Atlantic University's Schmidt College of Medicine analyzed data from structured interviews on 84 patients, men and women ages 40 to 91 years old, with biopsy proven advanced colorectal polyps between July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2017.

The data, which were published in the American Journal of Medicine, showed that only 36 (42.9%) of the 84 patients with advanced colorectal polyps reported taking aspirin, according to the press release.

The USPSTF concluded that aspirin reduces the risk of colorectal cancer by 40% as well as a decreased recurrence of advanced polyps. Their guidelines after the study suggest that, without a specific contraindication, clinicians should routinely prescribe aspirin to patients with advanced colorectal polyps, according to the researchers.

Benjamin Fiedler, first author of the study, asserted that such findings demonstrated the need for physicians to prescribe a multi-faceted approach to prevention.

"These approaches should include therapeutic lifestyle changes, adjunctive drug therapies as well as screening," Fiedler said.

These lifestyle changes include avoiding and treating overweight and obesity as well as regular physical activity and adjunctive drug therapies, including aspirin.

"By utilizing these multifactorial approaches, we believe that these efforts should achieve the most good for the most patients concerning the prevention as well as screening and early diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancers," said senior author Charles H. Hennekens MD, DrPH.

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