New study links asprin, cancer survival

Studies have touted the benefits of aspirin to prevent heart disease and cancer, but now there's evidence that aspirin may also prevent cancer - that's already in the body - from spreading.

A Harvard review of 4,000 breast cancer survivors finds a simple aspirin can cut the chance of that cancer spreading or death by 50 percent.

"If it bears out, then this might be one more thing that women with breast cancer can do to live longer and better," said Harvard doctor Michelle Holmes.

In fact, women who took two to five aspirins a week lowered their risk of metastasis 60 percent and death by 71 percent.

"That would seem to imply that there really was some sort of anti-inflammatory effect going on to help these women to live longer," Dr. Holmes said.

Researchers found similar benefits from drugs called "nsaids" like ibuprofen.

Dr. Wayne Frederick heads Howard University's Cancer Center. He calls this study promising.

"I absolutely would be interested in having my patients take aspirin if this, in truth, prevents them from dying from recurrence," Fredrick said.

But that's a long way off. Scientists say they need more research to prove whether a simple aspirin can help women live longer.

This was an observational study which means patients reported how much aspirin they took.  Scientists will need to conduct a large clinical trial to verify aspirin's benefits.

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