Will An Aspirin A Day Keep Cancer Away?
Regular use of low-dose aspirin may reduce the risk of developing colon cancer according to a study published in a recent issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study, which was conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital, included 40,000 women who were over the age of 45. Participants were randomly assigned to either take 100 milligrams of aspirin or a placebo every other day. Researchers followed the women for 10 years and found that those who took aspirin had a 20% reduction in colon cancer risks.
A separate study conducted in Sweden found that colon and lung cancer patients who regularly took low-dose aspirin before their diagnosis tended to have smaller, less-advanced tumors. One of the study's authors suggested that aspirin delays the formation of polyps, which can be a precursor to cancer.
The down side is that aspirin has been linked to gastrointestinal problems including serious, sometimes fatal, stomach bleeding. People with ulcers or a history of stomach problems are not appropriate candidates for aspirin as a preventative therapy. For these people, taking a multivitamin with natural probiotic supplement can work just as well.
According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S. The ACS estimates that 142,820 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year and 50,830 will die from it. When caught in its early stages, the prognosis for colon cancer patients is very good and the survival rates are high.
Risk factors for colon cancer include family history, a high-fat diet, obesity, smoking, sedentary lifestyle and excessive use of alcohol. Although colon cancer can occur at any age, the risks increase after the age of 50.
While there are some factors, such as age and family history, that you cannot control, there are some lifestyle changes you can embrace that may reduce your risk for developing colon cancer:
Eat more vegetables and fruits: The antioxidants in plant-based foods can have significantly positive effects on immune system function. A high fiber, low-fat diet is conducive to healthy digestion.
Get moving: Exercise boosts the body's metabolism, making you more healthy and resilient. As an added bonus, the sweat produced during a vigorous workout helps rid your body of harmful toxins.
Embrace Vitamin D and Calcium: Both of these nutrients have been linked to reduced risks of cancer. If you aren't getting enough in your diet consider taking nutritional supplements such as a daily multivitamin to make sure you are getting the recommended amounts.
Limit alcohol use: Excessive use of alcohol has been linked to a host of health problems, including liver disease and cancer.
Add probiotics to your regimen: Adding probiotics to your diet can help you achieve and maintain better digestive health. They are available through nutritional supplements or in foods such as yogurt, fermented milk, miso, and soy drinks. Read product labels carefully and look for a statement that the product contains "live and active cultures," such as lactobacillus. Natural probiotic supplements are available online and at natural health stores.