Harvard Women's Health Watch

Taking a daily aspirin might reduce ovarian cancer risk

Aspirin isn't only good for bringing down fevers and warding off heart attacks. It's also being investigated as a potent cancer fighter. A study published Feb. 6, 2014, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute finds that women who take a daily aspirin might reduce their risk for ovarian cancer. The researchers analyzed results from 12 studies including nearly 8,000 women with ovarian cancer and almost 12,000 women who did not have the disease.

Women in the study who reported taking a daily aspirin had a 20% lower risk of ovarian cancer than women who used aspirin less than once a week. Other NSAIDs and acetaminophen didn't significantly affect the cancer risk. Aspirin may combat ovarian and other cancers by its anti-inflammatory effects. However, women need to balance aspirin's anti-cancer properties against its risk for gastrointestinal bleeding, and they should ask their doctors whether it's worth taking for cancer prevention alone.

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