Harvard Health Letter

Aspirin may help colon cancer patients live longer

There's more encouraging news about the health benefits of daily aspirin therapy. Its role in preserving heart health is well established, and several studies in recent years have suggested that aspirin may help cancer patients, too. But a new study by researchers at the Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found that colon cancer patients with a particular type of tumor lived longer if they took aspirin. In the study, published in the Oct. 25, 2012, New England Journal of Medicine, researchers looked at the life span of colon cancer patients whose tumors had a mutated form of the PIK3CA gene. The results showed that 97% of the people with that mutation who took aspirin daily were alive at least five years after being diagnosed with colon cancer, compared with 74% of those who didn't take aspirin.

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