A DAILY dose of aspirin can dramatically cut the risk of getting cancer, research has found.
Millions of people already take a low dose of the drug each day to cut their risk of heart disease and strokes.
Now analysis of existing trials of daily aspirin use has found an estimated 37 per cent reduction in cancer mortality among those using the drug for five years or more.
In a separate study, American Cancer Society researchers led by Dr Eric Jacobs found daily aspirin use was associated with a 40 per cent lower mortality from cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, such as stomach cancer, and about 12 per cent lower mortality from other cancers.
Daily use of the drug was associated with a 16 per cent lower risk of cancer mortality, they found.
The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, provides confirmation of the potential benefit of taking a daily aspirin. Previous research has shown that the active ingredient in the drug, called salicylate, could be a powerful tool in fighting cancer.
But doctors do not recommend aspirin for everyone because its side effects can include an increased risk of stomach bleeding.
Dr Jacobs said: “Although recent evidence about aspirin use and cancer is encouraging, it is still premature to recommend people start taking aspirin specifically to prevent cancer.
“Even low-dose aspirin can substantially increase the risk of serious gastrointestinal bleeding.”
Dr Kat Arney, Cancer Research UK’s science information manager, said: “It’s important to remember that this research doesn’t apply to everyone and the drug can cause serious side- effects such as bleeding, so we wouldn’t recommend that anyone starts taking daily aspirin without talking to their doctor first.”