Aspirin sales must need a boost. That’s the only reason I can come up with to explain why researchers have suddenly returned to their one-a-day mantra. Only this time, they say aspirin could help you prevent cancer.
It’s practically a miracle, they claim.
But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find no miracles here–just the usual research smoke and mirrors.
In a new analysis of 25,000 people involved in eight studies on daily aspirin use, researchers found that the painkillers lowered the risk of cancer deaths by 10 to 60 percent.
And I have to admit, that sounded great to me–until I read the details.
The risk of death by lung cancer, for example, was 20 percent lower in daily aspirin users–but since just 326 of the 25,000 patients had lung cancer, it’s hard to draw any major conclusions here.
What’s more, only a third of the subjects were women. The researchers "guess" that the results would be the same for them–but they can’t say for sure based on this study.
Do you want to take a drug every single day based on a guess? I know I don’t.
But the truth is, women don’t have to guess: One major study that was completely ignored by these researchers looked at 40,000 U.S. women–and found no reduction in the risk of any cancer deaths (with the possible exception of lung cancer–but even that wasn’t proven).
I have to wonder why that one didn’t make the cut–could it be that it didn’t line up with their predetermined pro-aspirin outcome?
There are other problems with this analysis, including the fact that the studies used to draw these sweeping conclusions weren’t even designed to measure cancer risk.
They were clinical trials that looked at heart risk.
And even if you want to believe that painkillers really can lower your risk of cancer, this should make you think twice: There was a 40 percent dropout rate among aspirin users.
It’s not hard to figure out why.
Regular aspirin use can cause bleeding in the brain, leading to a brain hemorrhage. It can also cause bleeding in the stomach, leading to life-wrecking ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems.
It can even lead to tinnitus, a persistent, irritating and even painful ringing in the ears.
If you want to do something every day that can lower your cancer risk, forget aspirin–and brew yourself some green tea instead.
Studies have consistently found that green tea may help prevent many kinds of cancer–as well as lower your risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and stroke.
Green tea drinkers even live longer–making it a daily habit that’s much easier to support.
Edward Martin is a health journalist who writes about today's most pressing health issues. He chronicles the most cutting-edge alternative methods for beating everything from diabetes to cancer and reports on the latest FDA foul-ups and Big Pharma conspiracies.