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How Does Aspirin Measure Up to a Colonoscopy?


If you read Stop Colon Cancer Now regularly, you know that a diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low in saturated fat can help to prevent colon cancer. You also probably know by now that regular exercise reduces your risk for colon cancer as well. But what are other health measures that you can take to safeguard yourself against the third-leading cause of cancer death in the United States?

Aspirin has been gaining attention in the past few decades for its use in colon cancer prevention. Most recently, a 2015 study by Harvard’s School of Public Health claimed that aspirin was a key component in reducing the risk of gastrointestinal cancer by 20 percent. The study was presented in Philadelphia in the spring at the American Association for Cancer Research conference. The presenters admitted that the conclusions were in the preliminary stages, and dosage and usage for colon cancer prevention would have to be determined at a later date.

This study is just one of many which heralds aspirin as cancer-defying. Another comprehensive study led by Jack Cuzick, MD, reported research that aspirin can help reduce the risk of stomach, esophageal and colon cancer by about 35 percent.  This was published in the Annals of Oncology last April and received significant attention.

Some physicians are more reserved about the role that aspirin should play in colon cancer prevention. Dr. Shahab Mehdizadeh and Dr. Arash Ari Nowain are La Peer colorectal specialists and co-directors for the Colonoscopy Center of Excellence in Beverly Hills. While they agree that research supports aspirin’s beneficial effects, they prefer to view aspirin as a supplement to standard colon cancer prevention like colon screening.

“While there has been a lot of research and indicators about the beneficial effects of aspirin,” Dr. Mehdizadeh stated, “there has yet to be a conclusive decision. Before dashing to the drug store for aspirin, people should first consult with their doctors. They need to speak with a health care provider who knows their medical history to assess the benefits and risks.”

Dr.  Mehdizadeh and Dr. Nowain definitely welcome the publicity of new research.  They are of the opinion that mass media helps bring awareness to colon cancer issues. Dr. Mehdizadeh said, “CBS News aired a story on the topic of aspirin and cancer prevention. Not only do these stories reinforce the importance of cancer screenings, it gets our patients, and the public, asking doctors about cancer prevention" (Source: Benzinga).

Talk to your doctor about when you should schedule your next colonoscopy. Taking aspirin should never substitute a colonoscopy because colonoscopy is the most effective method to prevent cancer. It still remains the gold standard for colon cancer screening because it is the only exam that allows a physician to examine the entire length of the colon for polyps, lesions and abnormalities. This means your doctor can remove any suspicious polyp before it can even develop into cancer and that is what keeps you cancer-free!

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posted on November 13, 2015 in news