Since aspirin became widely available in the late 1800s, it's been advocated for use in many ways, from birth control to prolonging the life of a Christmas tree.
Fortunately, the modern science behind this common pain reliever's powers is far more reliable — and ever-expanding.
Research suggests that this heart-friendly medication can also lower your risk of certain types of cancer. The latest study on breast cancer, published in the journal Oncotarget, is especially promising.
In an analysis of 13 existing studies that involved more than 850,000 women, those who took aspirin for five years cut their risk of breast cancer by 14%; for 10 years by 27%; and for 20 years by 46%.
The optimal dose appeared to be 325 mg daily, two to seven times a week. Taking it five times weekly produced a 3% reduction, and 20 times resulted in a 10% cut.
Another new insight into aspirin's powers was published in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia. It reveals that patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who received aspirin (usually 81 mg) within 24 hours of admission or within seven days prior to admission were less likely to be admitted to the ICU, put on a ventilator, or die (a 47% lower risk) than hospitalized COVID patients who aren't taking aspirin.
One reminder: Take aspirin with a glass of warm water before and after to help minimize gastrointestinal problems or bleeding. Aspirin blocks hormones that protect your stomach lining, so you don't want the pill to land on vulnerable tissue.