Aspirin and Colon Cancer

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Story Updated: Oct 26, 2012

You've probably heard that taking a daily dose of aspirin may help protect you from colorectal cancer. Studies have also suggested that regular use of the pain reliever may lead to better outcomes for those already diagnosed with the disease.

In a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers wanted to find out whether aspirin therapy was associated with longer survival in patients diagnosed with a specific genetic form of colorectal cancer, which is typically difficult to treat.

Researchers looked at data from 9-hundred-64 colon and rectal cancer patients. They included information on aspirin use after diagnosis and looked for the presence or absence of a specific gene mutation.

They discovered that those with the mutated-gene form of cancer responded well to the low dose aspirin...extending survival rates. This aspirin benefit was not seen in patients with a different form of cancer. This suggests that the value of aspirin as a colorectal cancer fighter may depend on underlying factors, such as the type of tumor.

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Current guidelines call for regular screening beginning at age 50 for adults at average risk.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with information that can help keep your family healthy.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com