Quarter of an aspirin a day reduces ovarian cancer risk by 25%, Harvard study finds
Taking low-dose aspirin could slash women’s risk of ovarian cancer by a quarter, a major study has concluded.
A study of 205,000 women, led by Harvard University, found those who regularly took a quarter-dose painkiller were far less likely to be diagnosed with cancer.
Ovarian cancer, known as a ‘silent killer’ because it has few symptoms until too late, affects about 7,400 British women and 22,240 American women every year and kills 4,100 Brits and 14,070 Americans.
The research team found that women who regularly took a low-dose aspirin pill – typically available in the UK in a 75-milligram dose for daily use – were 23 per cent less likely to develop ovarian cancer.
The same benefits were not found for a high-dose pill – the 300mg dose used for headaches – possibly because they were not taken long-term.
Aspirin has been used as a painkiller for thousands of years since the Ancient Egyptians found that an extract of willow bark helped mothers cope with the pain of childbirth.
But in recent years scientists have found that the cheap drug has many more applications.
Because it thins the blood and reduces inflammation, scientists are increasingly finding that it can ward off the threat of diseases.
The drug is commonly prescribed by doctors in lower doses to prevent heart problems because it stops platelets in the blood clumping together to form clots.
Scientists have for some time been exploring whether aspirin may ward off cancer.