Professor Bob Steele CBE Chair of the Scottish Cancer Foundation and co-director of the Scottish Cancer Prevention Network tells us in a few short words about his paper of the year…. and makes us think hard about the use of asprin in cancer prevention 

McNeil JJ, Nelson MR, Woods RL et al. ASPREE Investigator Group (2018)

Effect of Aspirin on All-Cause Mortality in the Healthy Elderly.

N Engl J Med.  Oct 18;379(16):1519-1528. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1803955. Epub 2018 Sep 16.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30221595

In this RCT, higher all-cause mortality was observed among apparently healthy older adults who received daily aspirin than among those who received placebo and was attributed primarily to cancer-related death.  This call into question the advisability of healthy people taking aspirin as a prophylactic drug for either cardiovascular disease or cancer.

Main take home message

Don’t take aspirin unless there is a specific indication.

 Images: Unsplash