Aspirin Back In The News...

Aspirin, the world's most well-known drug is back in the news. This time, there are claims that it prevents cancer. This is just one of many apparent benefits of this so-called 'wonder drug'. The medical fraternity and media...

as seen in this recent article on the Time website...will probably have you believe that aspirin also removes carpet stains, mildew and who knows what other miracles.

Okay, so maybe I was over-doing it a little, but it doesn’t deter from the fact that despite whatever significant medical treatments and preventions are associated with aspirin, not everyone should be taking it. In fact, it’s a drug by definition which means no one should actually be taking it unless its absolutely necessary.

What really blows my mind is that the overall perception created by this drug’s hype points to the suggestion that everyone should be taking it daily. Even those people who may need to address a few conditions or ailments need to think about any form of treatment with a clear head...regardless if it’s a cheap everyday drug like aspirin or some multi-million dollar pharmaceutical ‘wonder cure’.

Unless I’ve missed it, I cannot find any references or suggestions of following a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, drinking enough water and ensuring you’re getting enough of the right nutrients.

The problem with news reports like this is that the some people tend to believe that they can continue living their current lifestyles (regardless of how unhealthy they may be) and that by simply taking an aspirin daily, their chances of getting cancer or any other disease will be virtually zero.

This article looks at the common reason why aspirin is given to high-risk cardiac patients as it helps to prevent heart attacks by preventing blood clots from forming, which can impede blood flow to the heart and brain.

However, the following excerpt reveals the side of aspirin many people may not know about:

“The new study in Archives is the largest of its kind to date. It includes nine clinical trials which together involve more than 100,000 study participants from a number of developed countries. In each of the nine trials, participants were randomly assigned either to take a daily aspirin or to take a placebo. On average, the aspirin-takers took their pills for six years.

“The analysis finds that, on average among the trials, one cardiovascular disease event was averted for every 120 people who took a daily aspirin. But there was one “nontrivial bleeding event” for every 73 people on the daily aspirin regimen. And the researchers found no significant difference in mortality between the aspirin groups and the placebo groups.”

The media needs to demonstrate responsibility when report on any story associated with pharmaceutical drugs...highlighting both potential treatments as well as the side effects and risks associated with them.

Aspirin has been around for many decades and may have helped contribute to some people addressing some ailments but it’s hardly a ‘miracle wonder drug’. In my opinion, there’s no such thing.

Following a pipe-dream where a pill can solve any health condition that is directly the result of a person’s unhealthy lifestyle and diet, is never the best solution. It may treat one or two conditions but without a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, you’ll be fighting a losing battle.

Footnote from Warren: The above posting was done by Dean one of our contributing editors.  I thought I should just add something. 

In the article that Dean refers to reference is made to a 15 – 37% reduction in the risk of dying from cancer for those people taking aspirin.  That sounds impressive but in reality it is not as spectacular as it may appear when it is put into perspective.   I’ll explain. 

Let’s take the average figures of death caused by cancer of all types across all races.  It is about 5.4 people per 1,000.  So, if there is a reduction of 15 – 37% in death rates then the mortality rate goes from 5.4 people per 1,000 to between 4.59 – 3.6 per 1,000.  In other words, about 1 – 2 people per 1,000 or, overall about 0.001 – 0.002%!  Not so significant when you look at it this way!  Then there could be many other factors which even generated that result such as the percentage of those people who were taking aspirin being more health conscious in many other ways!  These results of some of these studies have to be considered from multiple angles.

4 Responses

Excellent article & very edifying. It is evident that companies employ "spin doctors" & so many people actually believe all the hype. I have never believed that a drug regimen is the best way to improve health, allbeit there are obvious needs for drugs in some cases. The basics are simply to take responsibility for yourself by not-smoking or abusing other substances, including alcohol, eating a balanced diet & exercise reasonably & getting enough quality sleep. Aspirin is a great pain killer but has its dark side, so caution is needed when using it, & I think it, like most drugs, should be used as rarely as possible. We have over used anti-biotics & thus helped create superbugs. The problem is most people just don’t get the message & rely solely on reports, such as the above, & doctors who are professionals but still human & often biased towards the latest drugs etc.

John March 30 2012

I took aspirin in the 40’s for arthritis & ended up with a damaged esophalgus & duodemun- have suffered ever since.

Lillian Murphy March 31 2012

I have suffered from migrane and cluster headaches since my teens and have taken aspirin very regularly, indeed in one particularly bad period I took 100 300mg tablets in a month. I have noted no gastric or other side-effects after all these years – I’m now 57. I should point out that I have always used soluble aspirin. Wonderful for headache relief, but whether this study is statistically significant is open to interpretation and a larger study probably needs to be done. What types of cancer are prevented – all types or just some? Can it prevent against secondary spread i.e. metastases? More questions than answers!

John Mk2 April 02 2012

Well taken Warren. It should be noted this is a new aspirin not regular aspirin called NOSH-aspirin which has or is being developed to reduce side effects of aspirin, mainly bleeding, also showed a secondary benefit of killing cancer cells. The only problem is it will be several years before clinical trials on humans begin. I hope it works, my wife just had cancer surgery two days ago and will start chemo in a month. I can tell you diet, nutrition and exercise will be a big part of her recovery. Just ordered digesten-K to help her maintain a strong digestive tract.. thanks

Russ Wilson March 30 2012

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