Aspirin lowers risk of cancer and death

October 1, 2007

Women who have ever used aspirin, but not nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), lower their risks for cancer and death, especially if they are former or never smokers, according to the results of a prospective cohort study involving postmenopausal women participating in the Iowa Women's Health Study.

Women who have ever used aspirin, but not nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), lower their risks for cancer and death, especially if they are former or never smokers, according to the results of a prospective cohort study involving postmenopausal women participating in the Iowa Women's Health Study.

During an average of 10 years of follow-up, 3,487 women developed cancer and 3,581 died out of the 22,507 women participating. Compared with those who have never used aspirin, ever-use of the drug was inversely associated with cancer incidence (multivariable-adjusted RR 0.84; 95% CI, 0.77–0.90; age-adjusted incidence rates of 147 and 170 per 10,000 person-years for ever and never users, respectively), with cancer mortality (multivariable-adjusted RR 0.87; 95% CI, 0.76–0.99), with coronary heart disease mortality (multivariable-adjusted RR 0.75; 95% CI, 0.64–0.89) and with all-cause mortality (multivariable-adjusted RR 0.82; 95% CI, 0.76–0.89).

According to the authors of the study, if these associations prove true, aspirin could potentially prevent about 4.7% of cancer, 3.5% of deaths from cancer, and 7.6% of deaths from coronary heart disease.