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2007-9-2 10:10:17

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or painkillers like ibuprofen should not be taken as a preventative against colorectal cancer because of its adverse effects, a federal task force advises in a new report.

The recommendation is made by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force is said to be applicable even to those who with a family history of colon cancer.

The panel said taking more than 300 mg a day of aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as ibuprofen and naproxen significantly increases the risk for stroke, intestinal bleeding or kidney failure.

These risks outweigh the potential cancer-preventing benefits of aspirin, the task force says in its report published in the Tuesday's issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Early studies suggested that taking a low dose of aspirin such as 100mg or less a day can help reduce the risk of heart disease, but it's found to have no protection against colon cancer.

Colorectal cancer is diagnosed in 150,000 men and women killing 56,000 each year in the United States. It is the third most common cancer in men and women and the second leading cause of cancer related deaths.

People at age 50 or older, those who have a family member with the disease and black people are all at a higher risk of colorectal cancer.

Early in 2002, the PSTF recommended regular screening of colon cancer for those aged 50 or older.

Early in 2000, The American Cancer Society published an article that cites Michael Thun, MD, vice president of epidemiology and surveillance research for the ACS   as saying that "The body of research pointing to the potential benefits of aspirin and related drugs in keeping colorectal cancer at bay continues to grow."

The article cites analysis of more than 600,000 adults in 1980 about their aspirin use.   Six year later from the start of the study, researchers found that people who took aspirin 16 or more times a month were about 40% less likely to die from cancer of the digestive tract including colorectal cancer.

But the authors(s) of the article also pointed out that the side effects of aspirin can be serious, particularly as the dose increases.   It says "Aspirin can irritate the lining of the stomach so much that it causes indigestion or nausea, or even stomach bleeding or ulcers, or problems with blood clotting, liver or kidney damage or stroke."

The issue is a bit controversial as some early studies had suggested that taking a low dose of aspirin could lower the risk of development of precancerous polyps, which may in turn develop into colorectal cancer.

But latest studies showed low doses of aspirin did not help prevent cancer.

A scientist with foodconsumer.org reminds readers that the real protection against colorectal cancer may come from a healthy d iet, not aspirin.   Early studies suggest that reduced intake of meat and dairy and increased intake of plant f oods may help prevent colorectal cancer.