Recently, some studies and experts have indicated that consistent aspirin use may have a therapeutic role as well. To determine the truth behind this claim, Dr. Gerrit-Jan Liefers and researchers examined the therapeutic effect of aspirin as adjuvant treatment on colorectal cancer patients following diagnosis. They conducted an observational population-based study.
Information was then gathered on prescription data from the PHARMA linkage systems, focusing on patients who had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1998 and 2007. They selected people from the Eindhoven Cancer Registry, a population-based cancer registry.
Patients were then classified into four groups: pre-diagnosis and post-diagnosis aspirin users, pre-diagnosis and post-diagnosis non-aspirin users, just post-diagnosis aspirin users, and just post-diagnosis non aspirin users. Of the nearly 4,500 participants, 26% were non-aspirin users, 47% were pre- and post-diagnosis aspirin users and 27% were just post-diagnosis aspirin users.
Those taking a daily dose of aspirin for nine months or longer following diagnosis had a 30% reduced risk of cancer-related death compared to non-users. Even regular aspirin use for any length of time reduced the risk of death by 23%.
The authors conclude that, "Aspirin use initiated or continued after diagnosis of colon cancer is associated with a lower risk of overall mortality. These findings strongly support initiation of a placebo-controlled trial that investigates the role of aspirin as adjuvant treatment in colon cancer patients."