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New health research finds that taking aspirin long-term could reduce the risk of developing 'major cancers'

I'm one of those people who just never takes pills. No matter how ill I am, I will never succumb to the powers of medication. I don't know why, but for whatever reason, I will try and cure myself naturally rather than through medical assistance. So, if I'm struck with a chronic headache or irritable bowels, rather than turning to the aspirin and paracetamol; I reach for a bottle of water, plenty of tea and stacks of fruit to nurse me back to full fitness.

However, the latest research into the benefits of aspirin may have just changed my mind.

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A recent health study into the benefits of taking aspirin over a sustained period of time has revealed that the drug will significantly reduce the risk of some cancers. Research involving 600,000 people found that continued long-term use of aspirin will reduce the likelihood of a person developing certain digestive cancers, as well as leukaemia and cancer of the prostate and lungs.

The research compared patients who were prescribed with aspirin over a lengthy period of time (7.7 years on average), with non-aspirin users, and assessed the incidences of a variety of different cancers in the patients.

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The results were pretty startling, with those who had regularly been prescribed with aspirin showing a massive 47 per cent reduction in liver and oesophageal cancer incidence, a 38 per cent reduction in gastric incidence, a 34 per cent reduction in pancreatic cancer incidence and a 24 per cent reduction in colorectal cancer incidence.

Professor Kelvin Tsoi, from the University of Hong Kong, was the lead researcher for the study and speaking at the 25th UEG Week in Barcelona, Spain, he said: "The findings demonstrate that the long-term use of aspirin can reduce the risk of developing many major cancers."

"What should be noted is the significance of the results for cancers within the digestive tract, where the reductions in cancer incidence were all very substantial, especially for liver and oesophageal cancer."

The study also tested the effect of long-term aspirin on cancer incidence for cancers outside of the digestive system. Astonishingly, a significant reduction was also shown for leukaemia, lung cancer and prostate cancer.

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However, despite the beneficial effects in these instances, aspirin wasn't shown to have any impact on the incidence of breast, bladder, kidney and multiple myeloma cancers.

The drug is popular across the world and is used to treat a number of different conditions, from self-inflicted hangovers and short term pain relief, to long-term and more serious prescriptions.

While the use of aspirin is subject to debate across the medical community, another study into the effects of the drug found that patients who stopped taking aspirin were 37 per cent more likely to have an adverse cardiovascular event, such as a stroke or a heart attack, than those who continued to take their recommended prescription.

So aspirin helps battle certain types of cancer? Off to the pharmacy I go!