Aspirin and Cancer Prevention: An Update

There are several recognized ways that you can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer, but is taking aspirin one of them? This week the US Preventive Services Task Force released their recommendations on aspirin, cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer – a final take on their draft recommendations released last year.

After a review of the research, the task force recommends that 50 to 59 year olds who have a 10 percent or greater 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease and have no risk for bleeding take a low-dose of aspirin. For these individuals, they conclude, taking aspirin  five to ten years can reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer. Here, they graded the evidence a B, meaning that there is high to moderate certainty of a net benefit.

If you are between ages 60 to 69, taking aspirin should be an individual decision depending on  preferences and discussion with a health care professional, they write.

Last year we wrote about their draft recommendations, noting that AICR’s focus is on how diet, nutrition, physical activity and weight links to cancer risk, so we have no position on aspirin use and risk.Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 11.01.09 AMWhatever your decision on aspirin, you should also know there is clear evidence that several healthy habits and a healthy weight link to lower risk. Many of these steps also reduce risk for heart disease.

Eating plenty of foods with fiber, limiting red meat and avoiding processed meats, exercising and staying a healthy weight all link to lower risk. AICR estimate that these lifestyle factors could prevent one of every two colorectal cancer cases every year.

Here are AICR’s key findings and the report on colorectal cancer.

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Obesity rates continue to climb, and that’s not good for cancer prevention

Both here in the US and around the world, obesity rates continue to climb. Today, for the first time, more people are classified as obese than underweight, finds a major new study published in The Lancet.

The findings have severe implications for cancer rates. Aside from not smoking, staying a healthy weight is the single largest risk factor related to cancer risk. AICR research links excess body fat to ten cancers, including colorectal, postmenopausal breast and esophageal.

Here in the US, if everyone were a healthy weight, AICR estimates that approximately 128,000 cases of cancer could be prevented each year.

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Going Green for Cancer Prevention

In celebration of Saint Patrick’s day, you’re probably thinking green. We talk about greens a lot here because eating plenty of those green vegetables is a big part of a cancer-preventive pattern of eating.

Green foodsResearch shows that consuming non-starchy vegetables, like dark-colored leafy greens, may protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and stomach while providing fiber and phytochemicals.

The phytochemical beta-carotene, for example, is found in dark leafy greens. As a rule of thumb, the greater the intensity of the color of these vegetables, the more beta-carotene it contains.

Most of you are familiar with “leafy greens” like spinach and deep green colored lettuces. And of course, there are green apples, broccoli and green tea. But if you want to fill your plate with greens today, there are plenty of others you can choose. Many of which researchers are studying for how they play a role in lowering cancer risk. Here’s a few other options.

  • Kale
  • Bok choy
  • Chard
  • Mustard greens
  • Mesclun (a salad mix)

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