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Aspirin may just be a miracle drug. The latest news about its benefits for breast cancer patients is very exciting. A study published in the "Journal of Clinical Oncology" shows that women who are breast cancer survivors can cut their risk of dying from the disease by 50 percent when they take a daily low-dose aspirin. They also have a 50 percent lower risk of their breast cancer spreading.
This news provides women with a potential therapy to reduce the risk of spreading the disease and decrease the mortality rate of breast cancer. But the part I'm most enthused about is that it is a peek into the future of understanding how breast cancer may be spread.
Research shows that aspirin keeps tumor cells from growing and invading other tissues. But it is important to note, this study did not indicate that it will prevent cancers. Needless to say, people who haven't had breast cancer may still benefit from taking aspirin incase they develop the disease later in life. It certainly seems that breast cancer survivors may benefit from taking the drug.
Aspirin has also been shown in previous studies to have an effect in ovarian cancer, colon cancers as well as decreasing the incidence of heart attack and stroke. All of these effects may be the result of the way aspirin can suppress prostaglandin synthesis - prostaglandins cause inflammation. In the case of breast cancer - breast cancer cells produce more inflammation than normal breast cells so it makes sense that aspirin will work to reduce it.
Other NSAIDs have been shown to have the same affect - but they are generally not recommended because their side effects are more serious than low-dose aspirin. Side effects of aspirin include gastrointestinal ulcers, bleeding, tinnitus and Reye 's syndrome - which is a potentially fatal disease that can affect many organs, especially the brain and liver.
In the end - more research needs to be done to confirmation these results - as well as understanding the mechanism of how aspirin decreases the aggressiveness of cancers. As always, I stress that you should speak with your physician before starting any new medication.
Dr. Cynara Coomer is an assistant professor of surgery specializing in breast health and breast cancer surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. She is a FOX News Health contributor providing medical expertise on a variety of topics in cancer research with a focus on women's health, breast diseases and tips for healthy breasts at any age. If you have a question email her at DrCoomer@foxnews.com