An Aspirin a Day Can Help Keep Ovarian Cancer Away, Study Finds

Taking aspirin does more than just fight off a mean hangover — a daily dose may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, a new study finds. Women who take an aspirin a day could cut their chances of developing the disease by 20 percent, according to scientists at the National Cancer Institute. The study evaluated the benefits of aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and acetaminophen in nearly 8,000 women with ovarian cancer and 12,000 women without the disease.

Researchers found that participants who reported daily aspirin use (less than 100 milligrams) had a prominently lower risk of ovarian cancer than those who used it less than once a week. Chances of developing the cancer was also decreased for women who used anti-inflammatory drugs, but the 10 percent dip was not significant.

The results add to the growing list of diseases, such as colorectal cancer, that can be potentially preventable with aspirin usage, says co-author Britton Trabert. Though the findings seem promising, researchers say further information is still needed before clinical recommendations can be made.

"However intriguing our results are, they should not influence current clinical practice. Additional studies are needed to explore the delicate balance of risk-benefit for this potential chemopreventive agent, as well as studies to identify the mechanism by which aspirin may reduce ovarian cancer risk,” Trabert says.

Other studies have shown the risk of disease decreases with the use of oral contraceptives and some places are even using dogs to sniff out ovarian cancer. More than 20,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with the cancer in 2014, and more than 14,000 will die from the disease.

Aspirin is known for preventing heart attack and strokes and recent research finds evidence that low doses could also help prevent breast cancer. However, daily use can have negative side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding, so check with a doctor for proper guidance.

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