Tags: Cancer | Heart Disease | national | guidelines | aspirin | therapy | heart

Feds Recommend Aspirin to Prevent Cancer: Is It Right for You?

Feds Recommend Aspirin to Prevent Cancer:  Is It Right for You?
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By    |   Tuesday, 12 April 2016 12:49 PM

The federal government’s new stance in favor of daily aspirin therapy to prevent colon cancer as well as heart disease should help save lives but still doesn’t go far enough in ending the debate over this proven form of therapy, a top doctor says.

“I’m glad that the federal officials are endorsing the use of daily aspirin for colon cancer and heart disease reduction, but I think that the new recommendations are going to add to the confusion that people already have about it,” Dr. Chauncey Crandall tells Newsmax Health.

On Monday, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force published its final recommendation statement, which endorses daily low-dose aspirin therapy for people age 50-59 at increased risk of developing heart disease. People 60 and over may also benefit, but should discuss risks with their health care providers, the task force also says. They also concluded there is not enough evidence to determine the benefits and risks (such as bleeding) of aspirin use in people younger than 50 or older than 69.

Americans aged 50-69 should also consider taking aspirin "for primary prevention of colorectal cancer," said the guidelines published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The decision should be made with a doctor, they said.

But Crandall endorses daily low-dose (81 mg) aspirin therapy for men age 45 and over, which is when their heart attack risk begins to rise, and for women age 50 and older, without exception, he says.

“Low-dose aspirin cuts the heart attack rate by 50 percent, now we’re finding that it’s anti-inflammatory properties help reduce the risk of colon cancer, and may help prevent other forms of cancer as well, like esophageal, stomach and pancreatic cancer,” adds Crandall, chief of the cardiac transplant program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. 

While he applauds the task force for saying – for the first time – that aspirin lowers cancer risk, Crandall strongly believes the recommendations should be broader and not only aimed at people at risk of cardiovascular disease.

“Many people who suffer their first heart attack don’t know that they were at risk of heart disease and about one-third of these people die. So I think that the task force is doing a great disservice in this respect,” says Crandall, author of the Heart Health Report.

Experts and government officials have been sparing over the issue of aspirin for years. For instance, two years ago, the Food and Drug Administration warned that too many Americans were taking aspirin daily, and last year, a study made headlines when researchers warned that 1-in-10 Americans were taking daily aspirin inappropriately, and were courting bleeding risks.

People age 85 and over are at increased bleeding risk because of their age, but low-dose aspirin should not cause problems in anyone else, says Crandall. 

“Aspirin has been marketed for more than 100 years and its use as a medicinal agent stretches back to antiquity, so I don’t understand what all this fuss about risk is about," he says. "And we’re not even talking aspirin – we’re talking baby aspirin.”

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A top doctor weighs in on the new federal recommendations on which groups should take daily aspirin to prevent colon cancer, as well as heart disease. Is it right for you?
national, guidelines, aspirin, therapy, heart, disease, cancer
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 12:49 PM
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