U.S. researchers say colon cancer patients taking aspirin could lower the risk of dying from the disease.
Previous studies have already shown that aspirin reduces the risk of developing colon cancer. But a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association released Wednesday shows aspirin can also prevent colorectal cancer deaths in patients already diagnosed with the disease.
Dr. Andrew Chan of Harvard Medical School led the study.
Chan and his team of researchers studied aspirin use in nearly 1,300 patients with colon cancer.
They found the people who took aspirin regularly were nearly 30 percent less likely to die from their cancer than the people who did not take the drug.
Chan said aspirin likely works against the cancer by blocking an enzyme that promotes inflammation and cell division.
Aspirin is already recommended for preventing heart attacks and strokes, along with its traditional use for relief of aches and pains.
However, despite the possible benefits, the researchers say more trials need to be done before the drug can be used routinely by colon cancer patients.
Colon cancer is the second most deadly cancer in the United States, after lung cancer. The National Cancer Institute says colon cancer will kill an estimated 50,000 Americans this year.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.