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Aspirin Prevents Prostate Cancer

      An aspirin a day may keep the cardiologist away, but will it keep the urologist and oncologist at bay too?
      New research suggests it can. According to a report published in the Sept. 20/00 issue of the British Journal of Urology, aspirin may save the lives of thousands of men from prostate cancer. Scientists at Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College School of Medicine and the Prostate Biology Group in London say the humble aspirin may be able to suppress the protein that causes prostate cancer.
      They found a protein called COX2, which helps cancer to spread, becomes overactive in prostate cancer cells, occuring at four times the amount found in normal prostate cells. Aspirin could block this process, the researchers suggest.
      The next step is to conduct a large-scale study to prove their theory, but the researchers caution people against taking aspirin as a prophylactic against prostate cancer since the pill can cause gastrointestinal problems for some people. Aspirin has been used for at a century now as a painkiller and new studies have found it may also protect against colorectal cancer.
      On other cancer research, studies suggest that aspirin's protective effect may be linked with its anti-inflammatory action. Professor Angus Dalgleish, of St George's Hospital in London, has suggested that the spread of cancer is linked with the failure of the body's immune system triggered by long-term inflammation caused by toxic agents in food and air. Regular use of an anti-inflammatory such as aspirin may boost the immune response, providing protection against cancer.
       The theory is to be discussed by the European Aspirin Foundation in November. It is based on observations that levels of Th1-type (thymus derived helper cell) immunity are unusually low in bowel cancer patients, which Professor Dalgleish attributes to inflammatory disease being tackled by the immune system.

- More articles on Prostate Cancer

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