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Medical Negligence expert Paul Sankey on Aspirin and the prevention of Cancer

As so much of my work is Medical Negligence Claims involving negligent errors in diagnosing and managing Cancer, I follow developments in the treatment of Cancer closely. I had recently been wondering why there has been so little news of progress recently. There seem to be spates when we read about progress with treatment of one or another condition – last year February had a series of gloomy headlines although November 2011 was much more optimistic with stories of improvements.
The most interesting recent news about Cancer is not about treatment but prevention, and it is of course much better to be able to prevent Cancer than to have to treat it. Recent research suggests that Aspirin taken regularly at low doses can help prevent Colorectal Cancer and other common Cancers. Another study found that it can help prevent the spread of some Cancer (known as metastasis) to other organs, which seems to break new ground in managing the condition.
Of course when it comes to Cancer no story is ever simple and many other factors are involved. Whilst Aspirin does seem to be something of a wonder-drug – it can help prevent strokes and heart attacks – it can also cause internal bleeding. So this is not just a recipe for taking Aspirin without proper advice. And there is other research from large trials in the USA which did not find any benefit from Aspirin in dealing with Cancer.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the UK does not do as well as our European neighbours in treating Cancer. So it is good to read of any positive developments, particularly if they may help prevent the condition from developing in the first place.