Aspirin intake lowers the risk of deadly prostate cancer, researchers have recently determined, in a new study that adds one more benefit to those associated with this type of medication.
Previously, researchers had shown that acetylsalicylic acid (commonly known as aspirin) can be effective in keeping colon cancer at bay, and in reducing the severity of cardiovascular disease, although it does have certain side-effects, such as gastrointestinal bleeding.
Now it appears aspirin can also successfully lower the possibility of developing an advanced form of prostate cancer, and of dying as a result of this condition.
The analysis was led by Christopher Allard, instructor in surgery at Harvard Medical School, based on data collected during the Physicians’ Health Study, conducted starting from 1982 at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Heath, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Medical records belonging to 22,071 male patients were reviewed: after around 3 decades, a total of 3,193 of them had developed prostate cancer. 403 of the diagnoses concerned advanced forms of the disease, leading either to metastasis or death.
By examining these figures against regular aspirin intake, it was calculated that patients who had ingested such medication around 3 times per week were 24% less susceptible to suffering from a more severe type of prostate cancer, and were also 39% less likely to die as a result of this malignant tumor.
As doctors point out, acetylsalicylic acid can be effective in halting the progression of prostate cancer, probably by reducing platelet aggregation and therefore permitting the immune system to identify malignant cells more quickly.
So far, a cause-and-effect association between aspirin intake and lower prostate cancer mortality hasn’t yet been established, and the medicine doesn’t seem to actually influence the probability of this disease appearing in the first place.
Nevertheless, the findings are still promising, especially since the illness is the second most frequently diagnosed type of malignancy among men, being surpassed solely by skin cancer.
The American Cancer Society has gauged that approximately 220,000 men have been told they suffer from this form of cancer in 2015, and around 27,500 people have passed away as a direct consequence of this disease during the same time interval.
Usually, the vast majority of malignant tumors affecting the prostate gland aren’t so hazardous, five-year survival rates being at 99%, and ten-year survival rates having been estimated at 98%.
However, when the disease progresses, taking over the bones or other body regions, the probability of being alive after 5 years have passed drops to as little as 28%.
Therefore, the fact that aspirin has the potential to keep prostate cancer under control, following its onset, could be capitalized on, so as to improve life expectancy and prevent the disease from turning lethal.
This breakthrough, first revealed on Monday, January 4, will be more thoroughly featured at the 2016 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, taking place between January 7 and 9 in San Francisco, California.
At the same event, another study related to prostate cancer will also be presented.
According to that unsettling research it seems that ever since 2012, when the United States Preventive Services Task Force changed its guidelines concerning PSA screenings, discouraging such tests, the number of deadly prostate cancer cases has risen significantly, in a very short time span.
The purpose of having these recommendations altered had been to limit the discomfort of patients, given the fact that prostate-specific antigen blood tests tend to identify virtually inoffensive tumors, and surgery sometimes does more harm than good, causing impotence and loss of bladder control.
However, now it seems that in the absence of such screening, even more serious cases of prostate cancer go undetected, their number having soared from 16% in 2010 and 2011, to 26% in 2014.
This means that fewer men manage to benefit from timely treatment against such tumors, being at a much greater risk of succumbing to the disease.
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