A woman in the U.S. has a 1 in 8 chance of getting breast cancer during her lifetime. There may be something as simple as a pill that could reduce that risk. A recent study published in the Journal of Women's Health showed a correlation between taking low-dose aspirin and reduced risk of breast cancer.
Aspirin and Breast Cancer
The study looked at 148,739 women over a 14-year period and found that the women who took low-dose or baby aspirin every day reduced their risk of breast cancer by 18%. These results were consistent across ages and among those with other illnesses. Researchers speculate that part of the reason for this is that aspirin acts as a mild aromatase inhibitor. Aromatase inhibitor drugs are used to reduce estrogen levels in the blood, and estrogen feeds tumors in the body. Another study published in the Breast Cancer Research journal found that, in lab animals, aspirin actually destroyed the tumor-initiating cells that lead to breast cancer. This study also showed that aspirin may reduce the formation of additional blood vessels that feed the cancer.
The link between aspirin and reduced breast cancer risk certainly looks promising! However, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting an aspirin regimen. There are side effects associated with taking aspirin, and it is important to evaluate the potential risks involved.
Reduce Your Risk
As more research is done, an aspirin regimen may prove to be a powerful tool for cancer prevention, but there are things you can do now to reduce your risk. These may not be as simple as taking a pill every day, but they are achievable and can help reduce the risk of many illnesses, not just breast cancer. People who are overweight are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. As mentioned above, estrogen helps breast cancer cells grow, and fat cells make estrogen. The older you are, the harder it can be to lose weight, but daily activity and limiting less-healthy foods (high-fat food, refined sugar, dairy) and eating more nutritious foods (vegetables, whole grains, high-protein food) will go a long way. Breastfeeding can also reduce your risk of breast cancer, especially if you breastfeed for longer than a year, so if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consider breastfeeding your baby—the health benefits to you and baby are vast. Alcohol and smoking are also big risk factors, so cutting back (or better yet, quitting all together) is a smart way to reduce your risk immediately.
Our team at The Woman’s Clinic is ready to help you make a safe and sensible plan to achieve your goals. We would also be happy to talk to you about a possible aspirin regimen and whether this step is right for you. Make an appointment today!