Taking a low dose of aspirin every day can cut the risk of prostate cancer by almost 30 per cent, new research has indicated.
According to scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, a 75mg tablet taken on a daily basis has a powerful protective effect against the disease.
The painkiller works by blocking the effect of enzymes, which cause inflammation thought to be a key factor in the development of prostate cancer.
It examined and compared two groups of men - 1,001 prostate cancer sufferers and 942 cancerfree volunteers of a similar age.
When the researchers looked at how often men in both groups took aspirin, they found higher usage among the cancer-free volunteers.
Men who had used aspirin at any point in the previous 12 months were 21 per cent less likely to develop a tumour.
Those who had taken aspirin frequently for five years or more saw a 24 per cent decline in risk.
But the biggest benefit appeared to be among those regularly taking a low daily dose of 75mg.
Among this group, the chances of developing prostate cancer dropped by 29 per cent.
The researchers said that aspirin appears to dampen the effects of two particular enzymes that stimulate inflammation in the prostate.
"The anti-cancer effects are thought to occur primarily-through the direct inhibition-of enzymes called PTGS1 and PTGS2," the Daily Mail quoted the authors as saying.
"Aspirin is a widely used and inexpensive medication. The potential public health implications of an effective preventive agent for prostate cancer are considerable," they added.
The study has been reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology.