Experts say the findings show long-term daily use of Aspirin (75mg) often outweighed its associated risk of causing bleeding. Experts warn the study isn’t strong enough to recommend healthy people start taking the daily dose.
However, this latest research shows that when weighing up the risks and benefits of taking aspirin, experts should also consider its protective effect against cancer.
Aspirin already can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke among those at increased risk.
“We encourage anyone interested in taking aspirin on a regular basis to talk to their GP first,” Ed Yong, head of health information and evidence, said.
Peter Rothwell of the University of Oxford and colleagues looked at eight trials that included more than 25,000 patients and cut the risk of death from certain cancers by 20 per cent.
The treatment with aspirin lasted for between four and eight years, but long term-follow-up of around 12,500 patients showed the protective effect continued for 20 years in both men and women.
“Aspirin should be thought of in the same context as lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise which can help to preserve health,” Professor Elwood said.
Only one-third of people in the analysis were women, not enough to calculate any estimates for breast cancer.
Scientists said it would take some time to digest the study results and figure out which people should take Aspirin.