22/10/2010 06:22 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

An Aspirin A Day Protects Against Bowel Cancer

Colorectal, or bowel, cancer kills around 16,000 people every year in Britain and is the country's third most common form of the disease. But Oxford scientists suggest those deaths could be cut by a third if people took a daily dose of aspirin. Not just that, but taking aspirin could cut the number of bowel cases diagnosed each year by almost a quarter, they claim.

MorgueFile, xandert

The scientists studied 14,000 people over the course of 20 years to figure out how taking regular, small doses of aspirin could affect their health. Their findings, which are published in the medical journal The Lancet, suggest it may reduce the number of bowel cancer cases by 24.

Taking aspirin to protect against potential health problems is, however, a controversial issue. Many middle-aged and older people already take a mini aspirin every day to protect against heart problems and stroke.

But most healthy people are advised not to take aspirin because of the side effects it could cause, such as stomach bleeding and allergic reactions. Earlier this year, for instance, Scottish experts claimed taking an aspirin in the hope that it will one day prevent an illness could do you more harm than good, as it could double your risk of suffering internal bleeding.

Because of their findings on aspirin and bowel cancer, however, the Oxford researchers say it's worth considering taking a mini dose of the drug every day, but only if you're in your 40s or 50s.

Has this news made you think about taking aspirin when you hit your 40s?

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