Study finds aspirin could prevent liver cancer

pills spilling out of bottle
A daily dose of the medication could make all the difference.

An aspirin a day can keep liver cancer away, researchers from Taiwan say after conducting a large-scale study on patients with chronic hepatitis B, a known risk factor for liver cancer.

Researchers from the Department of Gastroenterology at Taichung Veterans General Hospital analysed the medical records of 204,507 patients taken from 1998-2012 and found a daily dose of aspirin reduced the risk of the deadly cancer by 37 per cent.

Lead investigator Dr Teng‐Yu Lee and his team identified 1,553 patients from the group who had received daily aspirin therapy for at least 90 days and analysed the cumulative incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) — the most common form of liver cancer — among participants over a five-year period, as well as their overall risk of developing liver cancer.

They found daily aspirin helped reduce the risk of developing both types of liver cancer.

Their findings support recent research that found aspirin could be effective against a number of cancers. One study found it could help ward off breast cancer by 20 per cent.

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Aspirin therapy has become common in recent years with doctors often prescribing it to stroke and heart attack patients because of it’s ‘declotting’ effects on the blood, which helps clear the pathway in arteries to the heart.

However, the Mayo Clinic says there are risk factors with daily aspirin therapy, namely, it can be difficult to stop treatment suddenly as it can increase the risk of a clot developing.

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Dr Lee says his team’s findings are a step in the right direction, but that more research is needed.

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“For effectively preventing HBV-related liver cancer, the findings of this study may help hepatologists treat patients with chronic HBV infection in the future, particularly for those who are not indicated for antiviral therapy,” Dr Lee said, reports Medical News Today.

“We are pursuing prospective investigations for further confirming the findings.”

Do you take aspirin often?