Aspirin, Cancer, and Heart Disease

Monday, April 11, 2016 (HealthDay News) — People in their 50s at higher risk for heart disease should take low-dose daily aspirin to reduce risk of heart disease and colon cancer, U.S. Preventive Services mandate mandates ( USPSTF) recommendation.

Americans in their 60s with an increased risk of heart disease could also benefit from taking aspirin, but the benefits are smaller for people in this age group, an influential panel of experts said.

Therefore, the decision to take low-dose aspirin between the ages of 60 and 69 should be based on a patient’s risk of heart disease and gastrointestinal bleeding, as well as their overall health and personal preferences.

Low-dose aspirin is usually 81 mg.

The USPSTF said there was insufficient evidence to determine the risks or benefits of taking low-dose daily aspirin in adults younger than 50 or older than 70.

These recommendations are not new: Guidelines supporting daily low-dose aspirin use to prevent colon cancer were first published in 2007, and heart disease prevention recommendations were published in 2009. However, this is the first time these recommendations have been included in a single recommendation, the panel said.

There are some caveats in the guide. For example, the recommendations for people in their 50s only apply to those without an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, who are expected to live at least another 10 years, and who are willing to take low-dose aspirin daily for at least 10 years.

Overall, however, “the task force found that taking aspirin can help prevent heart attack and stroke, as well as colorectal cancer, in people 50 to 69 at increased risk of cardiovascular disease,” former member Douglas Owens, MD, led the review. The task force said in a press release from the task force.

Owens is a general physician at the Department of Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System and a professor at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

“Before starting aspirin for primary prevention, people 50 to 69 years old should talk to their primary care clinician about their cardiovascular disease and bleeding risks of.”

Bibbins-Domingo is a professor of medicine, epidemiology, and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco.

The recommendations appeared on the task force website and published online April 11 in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Heart disease and colon cancer are the leading causes of death among adults in the United States. Heart attacks and strokes are responsible for 30% of deaths in the United States, and colon cancer is the third most common cancer, causing approximately 50,000 deaths in 2014, according to the USPSTF.

Two experts supported the guideline.

“Recommending low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attack and stroke has been a cornerstone of risk reduction for cardiologists,” said Dr. Kevin Marzo, chief of the Division of Cardiology at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, NY. Aspirin also reduces colorectal cancer. ”

Dr. David Bernstein is Director of Hepatology at Northwell Health in Manhasset, NY. While the recommendations “make sense,” the increased bleeding risk means “aspirin must be used judiciously in appropriate patients,” he said.

The USPSTF emphasizes that taking low-dose aspirin is only part of the prevention of heart disease and colon cancer. Other measures include eating healthy, exercising regularly and not smoking. Healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels can also reduce the risk of heart disease, and regular screening can help prevent colon cancer.

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