Aspirin may reduce colon cancer death

By Philippe Djegal
Posted by Michael Hetrick

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It's the third leading cause of death in the United States.   Colon cancer claims the lives of more than 660-thousand people worldwide. But, a recent study has doctors optimistic about finally lowering the mortality rate of those with colon cancer.

"Well, this is a pretty exciting study," says Gastroenterologist Donald Rawls.

Rawls says a study recently released by the Journal of the American Medical Association is blazing what could be a historic path.  The study claims that the use of aspirin can reduce the risk of death from colon cancer by nearly 30-percent.

"Anything we can do to decrease the mortality rate from colorectal cancer is important."

Dr. Rawls says there have been a number of studies through the years claiming that aspirin or drugs like it can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.  But, he says this study was different.

"This study took a group of patients that had colorectal cancer and had been treated for that  and showed that their risk of mortality from their disease was decreased by taking aspirin."

"Good news.  But, we need more information," says Dr. Elias Fanous.   He says the study was simply observational, meaning the patients who took part in the study had already been treated for their disease by surgery,  chemotherapy or both.   Fanous also said it's possible that factors other than aspirin could have accounted for the reduction in cancer deaths.

"I think because it has side effects, significant side effect, we need to watch and wait.  But, it is very encouraging."

"If you already take aspirin for other reasons, by all means, continue to take it.  But, there isn't enough evidence at this point in time to warrant telling everybody that has colon cancer they should take aspirin," says Dr. Rawls.

Doctors do not recommend going out and buying aspirin and taking it as a preventative measure for colon cancer.

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