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Q: Can aspirin help patients with prostate cancer?
A: According to a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (2012), men who have been treated for prostate cancer, either with surgery or radiation, could benefit from taking aspirin.
The finding of this observational study showed the 10-year mortality rate from prostate cancer was significantly lower in patients taking aspirin (3 percent compared to 8 percent who did not take aspirin).
The study looked at almost 6,000 men in the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor nationwide database who had prostate cancer treated with surgery or radiotherapy.
The results of this study suggest aspirin prevents the growth of tumor cells in prostate cancer, especially in high-risk prostate cancer. This study supports other studies in patients with colorectal, prostate or breast cancer, which suggest daily aspirin use may help prevent cancer and have anti-cancer spreading effects.
Exactly how aspirin may prevent or help treat cancer is not clearly understood, because cancer and its spread (metastasis) are very complex, but it appears aspirin’s ability to prevent blood platelets from clumping together (aggregation) may be involved.
However, in this study the dosage of aspirin therapy, duration and timing of aspirin use were not addressed in detail, and further study is warranted.
Before starting any aspirin therapy, patients should consult with their physician(s).
Richard P. Hoffmann, Pharm.D., has been a pharmacist for more than 40 years. Send questions to him at 2960 E. Coventry Court, Hernando, FL 34442.