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Aspirin Protects Against CVD, But Could It Also Prevent Breast Cancer?

It’s beginning to look like low-dose aspirin may be the miracle cure for whatever ails you. Aside from taking it for headaches, many people with diabetes already use aspirin to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. And now it’s being studied as a potential method for preventing breast cancer in patients with diabetes as well.

The Taiwanese study followed nearly 149,000 women (whose average age was 63) with type 2 diabetes for 14 years. 27,378 of the women took low-dose aspirin on a regular basis, and researchers found that this group of women had an 18 percent decrease in breast cancer risk overall.

Women in this group who took at least 88,900 mg of aspirin over the course of the 14-year study had a whopping 47% reduction in breast cancer risk, while those in the 8,000 to 88,900 mg group (low to medium) did not see improved risk levels. One year of aspirin usage was enough for researchers to see a lower incidence of breast cancer cases, and the risk continued to decrease with ongoing aspirin use.

If you’re wondering exactly how many aspirins you’d have to take to hit the 88,900 mg mark, we’ve got you covered. Although a normal aspirin is about 325 mg (you’d need 275 to hit 88,900 mg), the study looked at diabetes patients who took low-dose aspirin, roughly 75-165 mg per day. At that dosage, you’d have to take aspirin for about 540 to 1,185 days (or more) to substantially reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.

PLEASE NOTE: Never take more than the recommended dose of aspirin. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about how much aspirin you should be taking or how often.

More studies are necessary, but the results of this research are promising. Studies have been done on the general population to determine whether aspirin decreases the risk of breast cancer, but they’ve yielded mixed results; this is the first study of its kind to focus solely on people with diabetes.

Dr. Susan G. Kornstein, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women’s Health and executive director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health, had this to say in a press release:

“Women with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of breast cancer, and these results suggest that the same low-dose aspirin that many of these women take to prevent cardiovascular disease may also help reduce their risk of breast cancer.”

Who doesn’t love a drug that does double-duty, especially when it helps the same subset of the population combat two separate health issues? If more studies prove the effectiveness of low-dose aspirin on breast cancer risk levels, it may soon become a vital staple item in the medical kits of women (and men) with type 2 diabetes. As if it weren’t a medicine-cabinet must-have already.

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Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?