Anti-inflammatory drugs may reduce colorectal cancer risk

Long-term use of anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin are more likely to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, according to a new study.

The researchers reviewed data from several Danish cancer databases to gather health histories of 10,280 colorectal cancer patients diagnosed between 1994 and 2011. The study subjects were between the ages of 30-85. Medical records were evaluated for aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs consumption patterns. The experts discovered that the biggest benefit was linked to agents with high cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibition, which leads to anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic effects.

The study revealed that people taking low dose (75-150 mg) aspirin for five years or more was associated with a 27 % risk reduction in both men and women. Moreover, for those taking non-aspirin NSAIDs such as ibuprofen for that long was linked to a 30-45 % decrease in the cancer risk.

“The protective association is certainly amazing, and it’s a good example of how everyday drugs can have unexplained benefits,” said Dr. John Baron, lead researcher and professor at University of North Carolina. “I don’t think we should imply or recommend that these medications be taken for cancer prevention without working closely with a physician,” he added.

The study found no protective benefit for irregular or short-term users of either low-dose aspirin or other NSAIDs. Lifestyle factors such as diet, weight and exercise were not measured. Bowel cancer risk factors include diet high in red meat, smoking, physical inactivity, family history of colon polyps and older age.

Colorectal malignancy is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Around 90 percent of the people diagnosed with the said cancer are at least 50 years old. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States, after lung and prostate in men. It is also third on the list in case of women, behind lung and prostate. IMAGE/

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