New uses for aspirin as preventive drug for cancer

October 16, 2015
Christine Hwang  University High School  11th grade

Christine Hwang
University High School
11th grade

For a number of years, doctors have been recommending aspirin to their patients in order to prevent heart attacks and colorectal cancer.

Now, the United States Preventive Services Task Force, which wields a great amount of influence on how doctors practice medicine, is also recommending the use of aspirin to prevent a variety of diseases. The Task Force decision on recommending aspirin was based on several pieces of evidence that support the idea that aspirin is a beneficial preventive drug for diseases.

They found that aspirin reduced heart attacks by 22 percent, reduced strokes, reduced colorectal cancer deaths by 33 percent, and reduced colon cancer by 40 percent. Through their research, they were also able to conclude that the biggest benefits of aspirin was found in high-risk people in their 50s and patients with a history of heart attacks.

However, although this influential organization recommended aspirin as a beneficial preventive drug, many experts criticize aspirin based on the negative side effects of consuming the drug.

Many experts have been criticizing the recommendation of the United States Preventive Services Task Force because of the evidence that underscores how aspirin can lead to many health risks. It has been known that the use of aspirin can increase stomach bleeds by two-thirds and increase the very rare risk for hemorrhagic stroke.

Experts make the point that this influential recommendation can lead millions of people who don’t need aspirin to take it, which makes aspirin detrimental rather than beneficial because it will only increase people’s risk of internal bleeding and hemorrhagic stroke. Many have also noted that the usage of aspirin to prevent diseases will dissuade patients from being screened or doing critical lifesaving colonoscopies because of their belief that taking aspirin will make them immune from diseases or cure their disease.

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