A daily aspirin can help beat cancer, says study

Painkiller reduces likelihood of dying by 20%

An aspirin pill a day could increase your chances of surviving common cancers.

Research in Cardiff University in Wales, looked at a lot of data from studies of different types of the disease.

The Cardiff University super-analysis of 47 studies revealed that the humble painkiller cut the chances of dying from breast, bowel and prostate cancers by up to a fifth.

In those with a certain gene, it doubled the odds of survival, the study found.

Professor Peter Elwood, from the University of Cardiff, who led the research published in the journal Public Library of Science ONE, said: "There is a growing body of evidence that taking aspirin is of significant benefit in reducing some cancers."

 

Prof. Elwood receiving an OBE from Charles, Prince of Wales in 2013

 

Other forms of the disease are also likely to be affected by the cheap pills.

Aspirin is already known to help stop cancer from developing in the first place and to protect heart health.

Professor Elwood says everyone over 50 should consider taking a low dose of the painkiller, in conjunction with their doctors.

Aspirin is capable of producing serious side-effects. 

One known risk of taking aspirin is bleeding in the gut - but Elwood's researchers found no evidence of this being serious or life-threatening.

The study suggests there is a need for trials to establish whether low-dose aspirin really should be considered an additional treatment for cancer.

The team pooled together data from five randomised trials and 42 observational studies.

As well as improving survival, aspirin appeared to reduce the risk of cancer spreading.