Aspirin: a step to prevention

We wanted to share some really interesting news in the world of colon cancer prevention.

Just last week, a study led by a professor at Newcastle University in England showed that taking two aspirin pills a day (i.e. 600 milligrams) for at least two years will cut the risk of getting colon cancer by 63 percent.

The story on bloomberg.com says this: "Among about 500 study participants who took aspirin for at least two years between 1999 and 2005, 10 developed colorectal cancer by 2010, compared with 23 who took a placebo." 

All of the participants had a gentic condition called Lynch Syndrome that predisposes a person to developing certain cancers.

For more on this, see the story below.

Aspirin Reduces Bowel Cancer Risk by 63 Percent in Study

By Makiko Kitamura - Oct 28, 2011 4:58 AM ET

Two aspirin pills a day may keep the oncologist away, according to a study spanning more than a decade published today in The Lancet medical journal.

Participants who took 600 milligrams of the common painkiller daily for at least two years had a 63 percent lower rate of colorectal cancer than those who took a placebo, according to the study led by John Burn, a professor of clinical genetics at Newcastle University in England. The participants all were carriers of Lynch Syndrome, a genetic condition that predisposes a person to developing certain cancers.

While aspirin’s effect on cancer risk has been observed as a secondary finding in previous studies, Burn’s research is the first designed specifically to observe that impact. Similar results were found for endometrial and uterine tumors, also stemming from Lynch syndrome, Burn said.

“This adds to the growing body of evidence showing the importance of aspirin and aspirin-like drugs in the fight against cancer,” Chris Paraskeva, a professor of experimental oncology at the University of Bristol in England, said in a statement.

Among about 500 study participants who took aspirin for at least two years between 1999 and 2005, 10 developed colorectal cancer by 2010, compared with 23 who took a placebo, the researchers found. That represented a 63 percent lower incidence of the disease.

Polyp Surprise

“What surprised us was that there was no difference in the number of people developing polyps, which are thought to be the precursors of cancer,” said Tim Bishop, a professor of genetic epidemiology at the University of Leeds, who led the statistical analysis of the data. “But many fewer patients who had been taking aspirin years before went on to develop cancers.”

Thirty-eight people in the study developed tumors at sites other than the bowel, 16 of whom took aspirin, the researchers said. Five people in the aspirin group developed endometrial cancer, a malignancy in the lining of the womb, compared with 13 in the placebo group, they said.

A follow-up study will compare the effects of different doses of aspirin in people with Lynch syndrome.

The drug has also been shown to reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Side effects of taking aspirin include ulcers and internal bleeding in the stomach.

“I’d rather have that than cancer or a heart attack,” Burn told reporters at a news conference in London yesterday.

Funders of the study include aspirin inventor Bayer AG (BAYN), the European Union, Cancer Research UK and the U.K. Medical Research Council.

-- Editors: Kristen Hallam, Robert Valpuesta

To contact the reporters on this story: Makiko Kitamura in London at mkitamura1@bloomberg.net

Alert: Bill to help uninsured Kentuckians filed

We are so excited to share this news! This bill will be an enormous step in helping people become more aware about colon cancer screening and getting uninsured people screened. It will save people from the pain and suffering of colon cancer.

See the bill at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/12RS/HB55.htm.

C2P2_logo_BW

Contact: Andrea Uhde Shepherd

(502) 290-0288

ashepherd@c2p2ky.org

October 21, 2011

FRANKFORT, KY – Rep. Jim Glenn (D-Owensboro) and Rep. Bob DeWeese (R-Louisville) this week pre-filed a bill that will appropriate $8 million over the next two fiscal years to provide colon cancer screening for thousands of uninsured Kentuckians.

The bill will fund the existing Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program that the legislature enacted in 2008 but has not yet funded. It will allot $3 million next fiscal year and $5 million the following year to cover screening for uninsured residents ages 50 to 64 and others determined to be at high risk for colon cancer. The program also will educate all Kentuckians on the importance of screening.

Kentucky ranks No. 1 in colon cancer mortality despite the fact that colon cancer deaths are 90 percent preventable. Finding and removing pre-cancerous polyps prevents colon cancer. Each year in the U.S., colon cancer kills as many people as breast cancer and AIDS combined, and it’s the second leading cancer killer among both men and women in the country.

A decade ago, Kentucky was the worst state in the U.S. for colon cancer screening, but it has risen to 32nd, and now 480 fewer people are getting colon cancer each year. That equates to a savings of around $35 million each year in direct treatment. 

Rep. Glenn lost his wife to colon cancer last year.

“I’m just trying to make sure other people don’t go through the experience I went through,” he said. “I’m just trying to make sure everyone is aware you need a colon checkup.” 

Rep. DeWeese said he supports the bill because early detection will “result in a higher cure rate, and will also mean that many people can be cured by a simple operation and not have to undergo chemotherapy or other long-term treatment.”

Dr. Whitney Jones, a Louisville gastroenterologist who founded a non-profit called Colon Cancer Prevention Project in 2004, said of the bill: “Kentucky has made amazing advances in colon cancer, but without state support to reach those at risk who need access, we may continue to fall behind other states. That would be a shame since this has been a public health success story.”

Attachments:

  • Pre-filed bill
  • Colon Cancer information
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