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Aspirin may help breast cancer patients

Aspirin significantly reduces the risk of death from breast cancer in women who have already been treated for the disease, a new study claims.

health and fitness Updated: Feb 17, 2010 18:44 IST

Breast cancerAspirin may help women with breast cancer live longer, a new study claims.

According to an analysis of data from the US Nurses' Health Study, which followed 238,000 nurses in the US for more than 30 years, aspirin significantly reduces the risk of death from breast cancer in women who have already been treated for the disease.

Michelle Holmes, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Harvard Medical School, who led the study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, said: "If these findings are confirmed in other clinical trials, taking aspirin may become another simple, low-cost and relatively safe tool to help women with breast cancer live longer, healthier lives."

Researchers are not clear as to how the drug affects cancer cells but they believe, it may curb the spread of the disease by reducing inflammation, which is a key factor in cancer development, reports The Independent.

The results showed that in addition to halving the risk of death, it also reduces metastases – spread of the cancer to other areas of the body – by a similar margin.

Lori Pierce, of the American Society of Clinical Oncology's cancer communications committee, said: "Several studies have suggested that aspirin may have beneficial effects against cancer because of its anti-inflammatory effects. But aspirin can cause stomach bleeding and is not for everyone."

"These are promising findings and if they are confirmed in additional clinical trials, physicians may be able to regularly recommend aspirin to their breast cancer patients to reduce risk of cancer spread and mortality."