Case Western Reserve, University Hospitals researchers say aspirin can reduce risk of colon cancer

CLEVELAND - Researchers at Case Western Reserve and University Hospitals in Cleveland say aspirin can reduce your risk of developing colon cancer.

Colon cancer is the nation's second leading cause of cancer deaths, with 50,000 deaths each year. 

The researchers observed nearly 128,000 patients for nearly five years in the study.

The results showed that those who regularly took a low dose of aspirin had their risk of developing colon cancer cut in half.

They say aspirin slows down inflammation in patients who had an abundance of the gene 15-PGDH.

However, using aspirin may not be the answer for everyone. Aspirin can be harmful for some. Researchers suggest contacting your regular doctor before using aspirin.

Dr. Sanford Markowitz, researcher at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center said it is rare for research to be so definitive.

"Very rarely in medicine do you do an experiment and get a black or a white had two groups of people, the folks that are high in PGDH, they're cutting their risk of cancer in half."

He pointed out the group low in PGDH barely cut their risk at all.

"We weren't shocked that there was going to be an effect, what I think shocked us at how big the effect was," he said.

Researchers will now try to make a simple test doctors can use while a patient undergoes a colonoscopy to test tissue sample to see if aspirin would help the patient. They will also attempt to develop a drug to boost the 15-PGDH levels in those patients will low levels of the gene.

The Cleveland researchers were aided in their study by the Harvard Hospitals in Boston.