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Page last updated at 08:01 GMT, Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Aspirin 'can reduce cancer risk'


New research published in the medical journal, the Lancet, has found that taking aspirin every day can prevent cancer spreading and could even help treat it.

Peter Rothwell, Professor of Clinical Neurology at the University of Oxford, carried out the study and told the Today programme's Sarah Montague that after going back over old archived records, they found that tumours that are already present are 40-50 percent less likely to spread in the blood of patients on aspirin.

He said that it could be potentially a very effective treatment for cancer with further trials and also much cheaper.

Dr Kat Arney, science information manager at Cancer Research UK, said that aspirin has always been an "extremely interesting drug" when it comes to cancer.

But while she said the evidence suggests there is a benefit for people in their middle ages taking aspirin, she warned against everyone taking aspirin all the time because there are risks of side effects for cancer sufferers and also for older people.

Dr Arney said there "should be guidelines from NICE" which Professor Rothwell agreed with adding that stopping smoking, a good diet, and getting exercise is "at least as effective as taking aspirin... so this is part of a wider lifestyle intervention".

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