Aspirin 'helps fight spread of cancer'
WOMEN who regularly took aspirin prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer may be less likely to suffer spread of the disease and die, according to a study.
However, despite the favourable results, healthy women are advised not to start taking aspirin as a "precaution" because the medicine can have serious side-effects.
The study of almost 3,000 women - published in Cancer Research - analysed records from the National Cancer Registry Ireland (NCRI) and prescriptions from the General Medical Service (GMS) claims data.
It found women who took regular aspirin for other medical conditions before getting breast cancer were less likely to have it spread to the lymph-nodes than those who were not on the medicine.
The study was observational, based on records, rather than experimental, and further research is needed to prove a positive link. Co-author, Prof Kathleen Bennett of Trinity College's Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, warned the results "do not mean that women should start taking aspirin as a precautionary measure".
It is hoped the study, funded by the Health Research Board and the Irish Cancer Society, will add to knowledge on how to reduce deaths.
Dr Ian Barron, lead author, said the association was strongest for women prescribed higher aspirin doses.