A small daily dose of aspirin for everyone aged over 45 could help keep heart disease and cancer at bay, suggest experts.
The Oxford University research published in the Lancet showed that taking 75mg of aspirin daily for five years reduces the risk of getting bowel cancer by a quarter, and deaths from the disease by a third.
The study suggested greater aspirin use could potentially save thousands of lives a year in relation to this one cancer alone.
But research is also looking into whether aspirin could have a preventive effect on other types of cancer as well.
Peter Rothwell, the Oxford neurologist who led the bowel cancer study started taking a daily dose of aspirin himself.
"I suspect that in five to 10 years' time we will be prescribing aspirin to middle-aged people, not only for the known vascular benefits," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
"If it becomes clear that there are benefits for other cancers, then the balance of risk and benefit will become so clear that people may take the decision to take it for themselves," he said.
Rothwell said that he thought it would be "sensible" for people to start taking aspirin at about 45, when the chance of developing bowel and other cancers began to rise.
"The risk of cancer goes up substantially between the age of 40 and 55," he added.