There are a lot of literatures that say Aspirin has the potential to address colon cancer. According to an editorial in a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Aspirin can potentially help block tumor growth in some patients who have colorectal cancer. In a separate issue, an oncologist from UAB also stated that a study that aspirin may be useful in colon cancer treatment.
The research included 964 colorectal cancer patients who were separated into two groups based on the absence or presence of a particular mutation of the PIK3CA gene. The use of aspirin after diagnosis in patients with the particular gene mutation resulted in a 46% decrease in overall mortality and 82% decrease in mortality specific to colorectal cancer.
However, the use of aspirin in the treatment of patients who don’t have the mutation didn’t have any effect.
Each year, more than 140,000 people in the United States alone are diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Additionally, 50,000 Americans die from the disease every year. In fact, colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of death related to cancer in the United States. According to data collected, about 17% of patients who have colorectal cancer have a tumor that has a mutated PIK3CA gene. This means that about one in every six patients who have locally advanced colorectal cancer may experience benefits from the addition of aspirin in their treatment.
Aspirin and Colon Cancer
The big problem is that in the last ten years there has been very little progress in the treatment of locally advanced colorectal cancer. This is why studies regarding the benefits of using aspirin as part of colorectal cancer treatment are so significant. However, there are still very limited studies conducted regarding the effects of aspirin in colon cancer treatment. The sample size for the particular study published in the recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine was also very small so the result was still insignificant.
In addition, aspirin is connected to an increase in risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhagic stroke. This presents the dilemma of weighing the benefits of using aspirin against the risk associated with its use. This is also the reason why Americans continue to use baby aspirin for reducing risk of heart disease.
Although the use of aspirin in treating certain types of colorectal cancer seems promising, it is still too early to make conclusions and start including it as part of treatment. A lot of research is still necessary before aspirin can be made a part of colorectal cancer treatment. Researchers are currently in the process of collecting more information to help understand the role of aspirin in cancer treatment. Like in any kind of cancer, the benefits need to be examined against the risks.