Scientists find why aspirin can prevent colon cancer

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Cancer starts when cells start dividing uncontrollably.

Scientists from the University of California Irvine found for the first time that aspirin changes the way colorectal cancer cell populations evolve over time, making them less able to survive and proliferate.

The research is published in eLife and was conducted by Dominik Wodarz et al.

Scientists have known that taking aspirin can help protect against the development of colorectal cancer—cancer afflicting the colon or rectum—but the exact reason aspirin has this effect has been mostly a mystery.

In the study, the team asked what aspirin does to the Darwinian evolution of cells. They found that aspirin affects the evolutionary processes and slows them down.

The team found that aspirin alters the birth and death rates of colorectal cancer cells. Specifically, aspirin reduces the rate of tumor cell division and increases the rate of cell death.

A previous clinical trial found that people who took 600 milligrams of aspirin each day for two years had a 63% reduction in colorectal cancer occurrence in patients suffering from Lynch syndrome—an inherited condition that increases one’s risk of developing certain types of cancer such as colorectal cancer.

Many other studies corroborate those findings, but none until now has investigated a possible evolutionary explanation for why this happens.

Now the team wants to find out whether aspirin has similar effects on cancers afflicting other organs in the body.

If you care about colon cancer, please read studies about what you should know about colonoscopy, and high blood pressure drugs may help treat colon cancer.

For more information about colon cancer, please see recent studies about things that may increase and decrease your colon cancer risk, and results showing diet soda drinkers have lower colon cancer death risk.

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