Can Aspirin Reduce Breast Cancer Death Risk?

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A new study shows aspirin can reduce the odds of death in breast cancer survivors. However, doctors caution it is too soon to know if women should take aspirin right when they are diagnosed.

The Nurses Health Study found that nurses who took aspirin 2 to 5 times a week were 60 percent less likely to have a recurrence of cancer, and 71 percent less likely to die from breast cancer.

"In order for cancer to take off it needs a blood supply and it will use inflammation as way of getting blood flow there," said Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News medical editor. "Aspirin dampens the inflammation and may be cutting off the blood supply to these tumors and in that way preventing cancer."

Experts said the new study is interesting but needs further research. They said it is possible there is another reason besides aspirin that would account for the drop in breast cancer deaths.

"We can't prove at this point that aspirin improves survival in women with breast cancer," said Dr. Michelle Holmes, the study's lead author. "You shouldn't just start taking aspirin because of this for sure." But, she said, "If you're taking it for other reasons, you might be helping yourself in this way, too."

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