Aspirin is full of surprises. We used to take it for a headache, cold or fever. Then we learned that aspirin can prevent a heart attack. Now the scientists are saying that a regular small dose of aspirin can improve live expectancy of people with specific type of colon cancer by more than 80 percents.
Colon cancer treatment
Cancer of the colon is one of the deadliest cancers worldwide. Just in the US. every year 140,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer and 51,000 die from it.
Many cancers start because of the mutation of a gene or genes. Mutated gene produces an abnormal protein or makes no protein. Abnormal protein sends to the cells different information than normal protein, causing uncontrollable cell multiplication and the cells become cancerous.
Some people inherited mutated gene and others got it later in life for a number of reasons.
There is a number of drugs for treating colon cancer, but they are effective only if the cancer is detected early enough.
While several recent studies found the effects of aspirin on the mortality caused by colon cancer, a group of scientists from the Harvard Medical School led the study which involved 964 people diagnosed with colon cancer in various stages.
What scientists found is that aspirin seems to block the gene pathway that fuels the growth of cancers.
People whose tumors were caused by the mutation in a particular gene scientists were focusing on showed 82 percents drop in mortality due to the regular use of aspirin. In short, people who used aspirin regularly, regardless of the dose, lived longer than those who did not. About 97 percents of people who were using aspirin for one reason or another were still alive five years after their colon cancer was diagnosed, compared to 74 percents who survived five years without taking aspirin.
Unfortunately, aspirin is effective only if the cancer is caused by genetic mutation.
Although scientists are not sure that it is aspirin which caused such drastic drop in mortality from colon cancer, they are excited about the possibility, since aspirin is a cheap, easily accessible drug already present on the market.
If you had colon cancer in your family, it is a good idea to find out if you have a mutated gene present. The genetic test is not expensive and it can be done in most cancer centers. If you find out that the gene is present, and you are at increased risk of developing colon cancer, why not give aspirin a try? Be careful, though. Scientists warn that aspirin can cause excessive stomach bleeding in some people with other digestive disorders.