- 6 updates
People wanting to lower their risk of developing cancer by taking aspirin need to take the over-the-counter medication "for at least five years", according to the scientist who established the link.
Professor Jack Cuzick told Good Morning Britain the five year timeframe was why it had taken researchers "so long to see" the health benefits.
The possible side affects of aspirin must be examined before it can be widely used as a cancer prevention method, the charity Cancer Research UK has said.
A new study suggests people who take a daily dose of aspirin could significantly reduce their risk of cancer.
"Aspirin is showing promise in preventing certain types of cancer, but it's vital that we balance this with the complications it can cause - such as bleeding, stomach ulcers, or even strokes in some people," Dr Julie Sharp, head of health information at the charity said.
"Before aspirin can be recommended for cancer prevention some important questions need to be answered, including what is the best dose and how long people should take it for. And tests need to be developed to predict who is likely to have side effects."
A daily dose of aspirin "is the most important thing we can do to reduce cancer after stopping smoking and reducing obesity", a leading professor said.
Professor Jack Cuzick, head of the centre for cancer prevention at Queen Mary University, said he thought GPs should recommend the drug, adding:
A daily dose of aspirin could cut bowel cancer deaths by 40%, according to new research.
Scientists at Queen Mary's Centre for Cancer Prevention also found:
- Bowel cancer rates could be cut by 35% and deaths by 40%.
- Rates of stomach cancer could be reduced by 30% and deaths by 35%.
- Oesophageal cancer rates could be cut by 30% and deaths by 50%.
- Rates of lung and prostate could fall by 5% and 10% and deaths from both by 15%.
- Breast cancer rates could reduce by 10% and mortality by 5%.
People who take a daily dose of aspirin could significantly reduce their risk of developing major cancers, a new study suggests.
Some 130,357 deaths could be avoided over a 20-year period if everyone in the UK aged 50 to 64 took aspirin for 10 years, research published in the journal Annals of Oncology suggested.
Scientists said the benefits of the drug outweighed the risks, despite population-wide aspirin use predicted to cause just under 18,000 deaths over 20 years due to the risk of stomach bleeds.
Medical professionals have warned that no-one should take the drug every day without speaking to their GP first, because of the possible side effects.
Latest ITV News reports
It is still unclear how to decide which patients would most benefit from a daily dose of aspirin and what size of daily dose to administer.