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Study finds association between daily aspirin use and modestly lower cancer mortality

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — A large new observational study published Friday found more evidence of an association between daily aspirin use and modestly lower cancer mortality, but suggested any reduction may be smaller than that observed in a recent analysis. The study appeared online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

A recent analysis pooling results from existing randomized trials of daily aspirin for prevention of vascular events found an estimated 37% reduction in cancer mortality among those using aspirin for five years or more. But uncertainty remains about how much daily aspirin use may lower cancer mortality, as the size of this pooled analysis was limited and two very large randomized trials of aspirin taken every other day found no effect on overall cancer mortality, the authors of the latest study reported.

For the current study, American Cancer Society researchers led by Eric Jacobs analyzed information from 100,139 predominantly elderly participants in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort who reported aspirin use on questionnaires, did not have cancer at the start of the study and were followed for up to 11 years. They found daily aspirin use was associated with an estimated 16% lower overall risk of cancer mortality, both among people who reported taking aspirin daily for at least five years and among those who reported shorter term daily use. The lower overall cancer mortality was driven by about 40% lower mortality from cancers of the gastrointestinal tract (e.g., esophageal, stomach and colorectal cancer) and about 12% lower mortality from cancers outside the gastrointestinal tract.

The authors noted that their study was observational, not randomized, and therefore could have underestimated or overestimated potential effects on cancer mortality if participants who took aspirin daily had different underlying risk factors for fatal cancer than those who did not. However, the study’s large size is a strength in determining how much daily aspirin use might lower cancer mortality.

"Expert committees that develop clinical guidelines will consider the totality of evidence about aspirin’s risks and benefits when guidelines for aspirin use are next updated," Jacobs said. "Although recent evidence about aspirin use and cancer is encouraging, it is still premature to recommend people start taking aspirin specifically to prevent cancer. Even low-dose aspirin can substantially increase the risk of serious gastrointestinal bleeding. Decisions about aspirin use should be made by balancing the risks against the benefits in the context of each individual’s medical history. Any decision about daily aspirin use should be made only in consultation with a healthcare professional."
 


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Report: Walgreens campaign highlights company’s innovative history

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — A new Walgreens campaign to the tune of John Fogerty’s "Down on the Corner" from GSD&M is hitting a 30-second primetime spot near you. The campaign highlights Walgreens’ long history of innovation, "from inventing the first chocolate malt to creating a nonprofit pharmacy for our troops. … Walgreens has been innovating for more than 100 years, and we’re just getting started."

"What we’re trying to do is speak to the innovations that have been a part of the brand since Charles Walgreen started a company back in 1901," Nancy Ryan, SVP and group account director at the agency, told Marketing Daily in a report published on Saturday. "What we found is that Walgreens didn’t get the credit for these innovations. When we took this work into testing, consumers were very interested in how Walgreens did these things."

To read the complete Marketing Daily report, click here.

To view the commercial, click here.

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Cholesterol levels among youth see decline

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — In a study involving more than 16,000 U.S. children and adolescents, there has been a decrease in average total cholesterol levels over the past two decades, although almost 1-in-10 subjects had elevated total cholesterol in the 2007-2010 period, according to a study published in the Aug. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"The process of [hardening of the arteries] begins during childhood and is associated with … high concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C), and triglycerides, and low concentrations of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C)," according to background information in the article. "For more than 20 years, primary prevention of coronary heart disease has included strategies intended to improve overall serum lipid concentrations among youths."

Researchers found that among youths ages 6 to 19 years between 1988-1994 and 2007-2010, there was a decrease in average total cholesterol from 165 mg/dL to 160 mg/dL. Between 1988-1994 and 2007-2010, there also was a decrease in prevalence among youths ages 6 to 19 years of elevated total cholesterol from 11.3% to 8.1%. In 2007-2010, 22% of youths had either a low HDL-C level or high non-HDL-C, which was lower than the 27.2% in 1988-1994.

"Between 1988-1994 and 2007-2010, a favorable trend in serum lipid concentrations was observed among youths in the United States but adverse lipid profiles continue to be observed among youths," noted Brian Kit of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead researcher. "For example, in 2007-2010, slightly more than 20% of children aged 9 to 11 years had either a low HDL-C or high non-HDL-C concentration, which, according to the most recent cardiovascular health guidelines for children and adolescents, indicates a need for additional clinical evaluation."


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