Chalk up another health benefit tied to aspirin. New research has found the commonly used painkiller appears to reduce the risk of Barrett's esophagus – the largest known risk factor for esophageal cancer.
The study, published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, is the latest to find a health benefit to regularly taking aspirin, which has been shown to also reduce the risk of developing heart disease and some cancers.
"The protective effect of aspirin use appears robust because the analyses suggests a dose-response relationship in which high-dose aspirin was significantly associated with decreased Barrett's esophagus risk," said lead researcher Dr. Chin Hur, of the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Technology Assessment.
Hur added that the findings aren’t strong enough to suggest that patients start taking higher doses of aspirin solely to prevent esophageal cancer, but if “an individual at high risk for development of Barrett's esophagus and esophageal cancer also could derive additional benefits, most notably cardiovascular, aspirin could be a consideration."
For the study, Hur and his colleagues tracked 434 patients and found those taking aspirin were 44 percent less likely to have Barrett’s.
Researchers noted the incidence of esophageal cancer has been increasing at an alarming rate in recent decades.