About half of the people with an inherited genetic disorder known as Lynch Syndrome eventually develop bowel cancer. Being overweight more than doubles this risk, but a new study has revealed that a regular dose of aspirin can reverse the trend.
For the study, researchers followed 937 people with Lynch Syndrome in 16 countries, in some cases over a decade. Study participants were asked to take two aspirin tablets (600 milligrams each) or a placebo per day for two years. The research teams at Newcastle University and the University of Leeds in Britain found that being overweight increases the risk of bowel cancer by 2.75 times. But study participants who took aspirin had the same risk, whether or not they were obese.
Lead researcher John Burn, professor of Clinical Genetics at Newcastle University, "Obesity increases the inflammatory response. One explanation for our findings is that the aspirin may be suppressing that inflammation which opens up new avenues of research into the cause of cancer. However, patients must consult their doctor before taking aspirin on a regular basis as the drug is known to be associated with a risk of stomach ailments such as ulcers."
John Mathers, professor of human nutrition at Newcastle University said, "The lesson for all of us is that everyone should try to maintain a healthy weight and for those already obese the best thing is to lose weight. However, for many patients this can be very difficult so a simple aspirin may be able to help this group."
The researchers are now readying a follow-up trial for which they want to recruit 3,000 participants around the world to test the effect of various doses of aspirin.
The study is published in Journal of Clinical Oncology