If you take aspirin, you’ve got a pain reliever, heart attack preventer and possible cancer preventer rolled into one tablet. You might think that whoever invented aspirin is a genius, but the truth is humans have been using its natural equivalent for thousands of years.
“Aspirin is one of those things that, long before there were ever clinical trials or any kind of scientific knowledge, people figured out, ‘Hey, I feel better when I take this substance,’ ” said Dr. Karol Watson, assistant professor of cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The drug has been making headlines because a study in the Lancet recently found that a daily aspirin appeared to lower the risk of cancer by at least 20% during a 20-year period. That’s based on data from more than 25,000 patients and builds on earlier findings that aspirin may lower the risk of colorectal cancer. The research has limitations and is not definitive proof, but it does add another benefit to an ancient remedy that has been called a miracle drug.
“There are no countries in which it is unknown, unappreciated, or unavailable,” the late medical writer Berton Roueché wrote in 1955, in an article later published in the anthology “The Medical Detectives.”Share
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