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Aspirin Cuts Colorectal Cancer Risk in Lynch Syndrome Patients

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEWCASTLE, England) -- Taking 600 milligrams of aspirin daily cut the risk of colorectal cancer by 44 percent in people at high risk for the disease, a new study found.

The study -- the first clinical trial of its kind -- followed 861 people with Lynch syndrome, a genetic condition that raises the risk of colorectal cancer. Out of 427 patients who took two aspirins a day for two years, 18 went on to develop colorectal cancer compared to 30 of 434 patients who took placebo pills.

The study adds to growing evidence that the drug famous for relieving headaches can help prevent cancer, too.

"Our results, taken in conjunction with recent research, provide a basis for recommendation of aspirin chemoprevention in Lynch syndrome as standard of care," reported John Burn, professor of clinical genetics at Newcastle University in the U.K., and colleagues, in The Lancet.

Some experts think the study's implications extend beyond Lynch syndrome, which causes as much as seven percent of colorectal cancers.

"There's no reason to think the cancers that develop in Lynch syndrome are any different genetically or biologically that those in the general population," said Dr. Scott Lippman, oncologist at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and co-author of a commentary on the study. "This puts it on the radar for people in the general population to discuss with their doctors."

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force already recommends daily low-dose aspirin for healthy men between 45 and 75 and healthy women between 55 and 75 to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.

"Clearly, this is even more incentive for people in that group to take aspirin," said Lippman.

But the drug isn't for everyone. People with ulcers, bleeding disorders, kidney or liver problems should avoid it, as should anyone who might be allergic to it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio