Patients that have been screened for a bacterium that will increase the risk of stomach bleeds are safe to once again start taking aspirin in order to treat cancer symptoms according to Professor Jack Cuzick, a cancer expert.
Professor Cuzick. who is in charge of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine Centre for Cancer Prevention, told the BBC on the Newsnight programme that he supported the use of aspirin on a daily basis for treating cancer. However, he stated that it is important to first screen and make sure that stomach bleeding will not be a problem.
According to Cuzick, if the UK did a mass screening of everyone between the age of 50 and 70 they could reduce the amount of people that get stomach bleeds from regular consumption of alcohol since the high risk groups could be isolated.
About a third of people in this group carry a bacterium that increases the risk of stomach bleeds, but the other two-thirds will have relatively no risk of stomach bleeds. Therefore, they can enjoy the benefits of daily low dose aspirin which includes a lowered risk for cancer. Doctors do not recommend this preventative treatment right now because of the risk of bleeding.
With screening it would be easy to know if aspirin should be recommended or not on a patient by patient basis. Plus, the test is actually very easy to do and is also quite cheap making it simple to find out if someone is high risk for bleeding or not.
Even better news, the bacterium is easy to eradicate so those that are found to have it can be easily treated and within five days have a lowered risk of stomach bleeding as well. A statement is expected to be published by an international team of experts on cancer prevention in the next few weeks.