December 27th, 2012
A recent study suggests that aspirin may reduce the risk of chronic liver disease and liver cancer.
While aspirin is already well-known for health benefits beyond pain relief, such as reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes, scientists at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland have found there are potential benefits for your liver too. The study author, Vikrant Sahasrabuddhe said that aspirin users were 41% less likely to develop liver cancer and 45% less likely to die from chronic liver disease than non-users.
The clinical study looked at a group of 300,000 men and women, aged between 50 and 71, for a period of 10 to 12 years.
Not all experts agreed with the study’s conclusions, though. An accompanying editorial from University of Ottawa researchers argued that there are other ways to combat liver disease and liver cancer which do not increase a person’s bleeding risk. Aspirin thins the blood, helping to prevent blood clots.
As Drs Isra G. Levy and Carolyn P. Pim from the University of Ottawa point out, we already know the causes of most cases of chronic liver disease and liver cancer, including viral infections like hepatitis B and hepatitis C, as well as alcohol abuse. “And we already have cheap, readily available interventions to prevent a substantial majority of such disease. While we study new possibilities”, they said, “let’s also keep focused on what we already know.”
Drs Levy and Pim are keen to point out that while there may be some benefit to the liver from aspirin, taking a pill is no substitute for having a good diet and taking precautions to avoid getting infected in the first place.
Click here to learn more about hepatitis C.
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