BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Aspirin could be a lifeline for men who have undergone treatment for prostate cancer.
We've long known that aspirin can lower the risk of developing cancer, but what about people who already have cancer? A new report looked at men who were treated for prostate cancer, either by surgery or radiation. The study included almost 6,000 men, and, of those who were followed for 10 years, the ones who took aspirin had a 57 percent reduction in their death rate from the cancer.
Dr. Thomas Schwaab of Roswell Park said, "This study looked at all kinds of anticoagulants that could be taken; whether it's aspirin, heparin, and a number of other agents, and the one that seemed to have the highest and most protective effect was aspirin, indeed."
Prostate cancers have different degrees of aggressiveness, and we can predict their behavior by their appearance under the microscope. The benefit of aspirin was greatest for the most aggressive "high risk" cancers, producing an almost 80 percent lowering of the death rate.
"I don't think the majority of physicians who treat prostate cancer really tell their patients to start taking an aspirin as an anti-cancer effect," Dr. Schwaab noted.
But perhaps they should. Dr. Schwaab is a urologist and immunologist, and he's working on anti-cancer vaccines at Roswell Park. Aspirin may become part of the treatments being developed.
"If you now give aspirin to a patient, you're actually improving the immune status. So to kind of fast forward a few years, you could even imagine that aspirin is given together with some anti-cancer vaccines," he said.
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