A trial has found that long-term aspirin use may reduce the risk of a number of digestive cancers.
Taking aspirin may have a protective effect against a number of cancers, a new study suggests.
A trial involving more than 600,000 people found that long-term aspirin use appeared to reduce the risk of a number of digestive cancers as well as leukaemia, lung and prostate cancer.
The study, which is to be presented to the United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Week meeting in Barcelona, saw researchers compare cancer incidence among non-aspirin users and people who had been prescribed the drug for at least six months.
Researchers analysed data from all public hospitals in Hong Kong to compare information on 206,295 aspirin users - with an average of taking the medication for 7.7 years - and 412,589 non-aspirin users.
Patients were followed up for up to 14 years. Overall, 16 per cent of people developed cancer.
Researchers found that long-term used of aspirin carried a "significant reduction" in the incidence of major gastrointestinal cancers.
Aspirin users were 47 per cent less likely to have been diagnosed with cancers of the liver or oesophagus.
Experts also found significant reductions in the rate of stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer and bowel cancer.
They also assessed cancers outside of the digestive system and found significant reductions in leukaemia, lung and prostate cancers among aspirin users.
But the authors did not find a protective effect for breast, bladder or kidney cancers.
"The findings demonstrate that the long-term use of aspirin can reduce the risk of developing many major cancers," said lead researcher Professor Kelvin Tsoi from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.