There may be a new treatment for colon cancer- Aspirin. It has been thought to improve colon cancer survival rates, but doctors did not know why. A new study delved into it and came up with surprising results.
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The study dates back to 1980, where 175,000 participants were documented every two years. During that time, 964 participants were diagnosed with colon cancer. The researchers had them document their medications and cancer treatments. For those who had surgery to remove the cancerous tumors, the researchers were provided with samples. They found that 1/6 patients had a gene mutation on PIK3CA. It is involved in the growth of cancer and fuels the spread of the disease.
As the researchers were going through the mutated gene participants files, they found a surprising discovery. Those who had the mutated gene and who also took daily Aspirin had a much lower risk of dying from the cancer. Looking at the whole study they found that the gene mutation plus Aspirin cut the risk of death by the cancer by 82%. With 63 gene mutated Aspirin taking participants, only two died of cancer. That is compared to the non-mutated Aspirin taking participants where 23/90 had died.
It seemed that Aspirin only worked when the individual had this mutation. The amount of Aspirin taken did not effect the results. The genetic test is simple, and if 1/6 people will receive the benefit, there is a great number of people that can be saved. However, there are health risks for taking Aspirin when not needed. It thins the blood and can cause internal bleeding.
The researchers still do not know how or why the Aspirin prevents the death of these patients. Further studies must be done to understand the effect of the gene with cancerous tumors.