Aspirin, Cancer, and Heart Disease

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Dr. Michael Smith
It’s been called a wonder drug - and it’s helped millions with pain and fever.
Now we’re looking at aspirin as a tool in preventing some of the most dreaded cancers
ovarian, stomach, breast, colon, and prostate. It’s true … evidence is growing to support taking a daily aspirin for some people. Experts stop short of recommending aspirin for everyone. But many are now saying it’s time to talk to your doctor to see if it can help you decrease your risk of cancer. We’re talking about taking aspirin for the long term. In fact, the preventive effect probably doesn’t start until you take it for at least 5 to 10 years. That brings up a whole host of other questions. How much should you take? Well, we don’t know for sure, but if your doctor suggests it, probably best to just take a low dose – 75 mg. When should you start taking it? Probably around age 50, but again, that depends on your risk of cancer. And, of course there are side effects, especially stomach bleeding. That’s why we have to be cautious. This can be serious … even deadly. So talk to your doctor to see if the benefit of taking aspirin outweighs this small, but real risk of bleeding … for you. For WebMD, I’m Dr. Michael Smith.