There’s been talk for a long time about the preventative (and preventing, not curing is the golden ticket for cancer in my book. No more cures, thank you. They’re the worst part of the whole experience) effects of daily baby aspirin on long term risks of cancers such as prostate and colon.

The problem? Gastrointestinal bleeding. So, not really a safe option for people with risk of bleeding, stomach issues, and ulcers. Also, if you stop taking it suddenly, there might be a rebound effect that increases risk of heart issues.

So after discussing it with the PA in my oncology care team at Mayo Clinic last year, I didn’t consider adding it to my “let’s not ever have cancer again” plan.

This longitudinal study is making me reassess.

“Researchers followed 86,206 women in the Nurses’ Health Study from 1980 to 2012 and 43,977 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study from 1986 to 2012. Baseline aspirin use was recorded and then researchers followed up on aspiring use every two years after that.

Reductions in overall mortality risks and mortality risk from cancer were observed at dosages of aspirin ranging from half a standard aspirin tablet per week to seven tablets per week. Benefits on cancer mortality were observed for people who took 0.5 to 1.5 standard tablets per week. People who took two to seven tablets per week had an even greater risk reduction in cancer mortality. However, people who took more than seven tablets appear to have substantially fewer benefits.”

So it looks like you could take aspirin TWO DAYS a week and lower your risk of cancer mortality. That’s totally doable! And not as terrible on your stomach.

This research, as well as the Mayo clinic’s new blood test for lung cancer, is research supported in part by money from the National Institute of Health. You know, the federally funded institution the new Republican/Trump budget proposal wants to cut.

“We were very pleased to see those results,” says Dr. David Ahlquist, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist who previously worked with Exact Sciences to develop a colon cancer test called Cologuard. “This new test approach that targets novel DNA markers had a sensitivity of 96 percent for lung cancer detection at 94 percent specificity.”

I’m a breast cancer survivor. The war on cancer is not over. Simple blood tests for circulating tumor markers for breast, cancer, lung, colon, and prostate would be super awesome, less costly, and way less traumatic. This is what scientists are working towards. Please don’t slash our funding.

 

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