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Aspirin lowers colon cancer death risk
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Colon cancer patients who take aspirin can lower their risk of dying from the disease, a new study suggests in media reports Tuesday.

It has long been known that people who take aspirin regularly are less likely to develop colon cancer. But the study has found that even after a diagnosis of colorectal cancer, patients who took aspirin had nearly 30 percent more chance of surviving than non-users.

Dr. Andrew Chan, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues studied aspirin use in 1,279 men and women with colorectal cancer that had not spread to other parts of the body.

In a separate analysis of subgroups of patients, the researchers found that among the 549 participants who used aspirin regularly after their diagnosis, 81, about 15 percent, died from colon cancer. In contrast, among the 730 people who didn't use aspirin, 141 died of the disease -- the death rate was about 19 percent.

Taking into account other cancer risk factors, such as family history, aspirin has an overall benefit of 29 percent reduction in risk of death, according to the study.

The study also shows that the benefits linked to aspirin were especially evident among people with COX-2 positive tumors.

"It's a pretty significant benefit and does suggest aspirin may have a role in treatment of patients with established colorectal cancer as well as for the prevention of developing initial tumors," said Dr. Chan.

(Agencies via Xinhua News Agency August 12, 2009)

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