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Family Health: Taking Aspirin

The cheapest drug on the market is now also a strong player in the fight against cancer.
In an age where we're always looking for the next best thing in medicine -- a new study shows evidence that - one of the oldest drugs may be the best.

We're talking about the benefits of aspirin.

We've always known that it has the ability to reduce the risk for heart attacks and stroke.... but now the cheapest drug on the market -- is also a strong player in the fight against cancer.

"We found a reduction of colorectal cancer -- about a 20% reduction," says Dr. Nancy Cook with the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Dr. Cook and her colleagues conducted a randomized trial of about 40-thousand women. The reduced risk was found in those who took a 100-milligram dose of aspirin every other day for ten years.

The dosage is about the same as taking a daily baby aspirin.

"It's important to consider low dose aspirin because it has side effects and the side effects increase with the dose," she says.

Side effects included upset stomachs and more rarely -- gastrointestinal bleeding.

Check with a doctor before you start taking aspirin, and although the news on aspirin is promising -- doctors say it should not replace regular colonoscopies to screen for colon cancer.
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