Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that affects only men, particularly later in life. It is the second most common form of cancer among men (skin cancer is first) and the American Cancer Society shares some startling statistics, “About 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime…Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. About 1 man in 38 will die of prostate cancer.” While the risk of death from prostate cancer is less than some other forms of cancer, researchers are always looking for ways to lower the risk even further. Recent reports are showing that something as simple and common as aspirin may lower the risk of death from prostate cancer.
Many men are already on an aspirin regimen, particularly later in life, for other health reasons and that same aspirin regimen may help reduce the rate of mortality in prostate cancer patients. While more formal clinical trials and research are needed, WebMD elaborates on these new findings that hold promise in the treatment of prostate cancer, “Men who take aspirin regularly may have a lower risk of dying from prostate cancer, a new study suggests. “We found that regular aspirin intake after prostate cancer diagnosis decreased the risk of prostate cancer death by almost 40 percent,” said lead researcher Dr. Christopher Allard, a urologic oncology fellow at Harvard Medical School in Boston… Still, Allard speculated that aspirin’s ability to suppress platelets in the blood — which is why aspirin can cause bleeding as a side effect — might help explain how aspirin could prevent the lethal progression of prostate cancer. “Platelets probably shield circulating cancer cells from immune recognition,” he said. “By depleting those platelets, you’re allowing the immune system to recognize the cancer.” Allard added that aspirin likely helps prevent the cancer from spreading to other areas of the body, such as the bone. In the study, men without a diagnosis of prostate cancer who took more than three aspirin tablets a week had a 24 percent lower risk of getting a lethal prostate cancer. However, aspirin didn’t affect the overall likelihood of being diagnosed with prostate cancer or even high-grade prostate cancer, Allard said. Among men with prostate cancer, regular aspirin use after diagnosis was associated with a 39 percent lower risk of dying from prostate cancer. Use of aspirin before diagnosis didn’t have a measurable benefit, the researchers said.” While an across-the-board recommendation cannot be made from these results, if you or a loved one is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer it may be wise to discuss these new findings with your physician to determine whether or not an aspirin regimen may be beneficial to treatment.