Can aspirin prevent ovarian cancer?


You may have read in recent news that a new research study found that daily, low-dose aspirin may lower a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer. So does that mean you should start — or change — your aspirin regimen?

Dr. Nora Disis, our Medical and Scientific Director and the Director of the University of Washington Cancer Vaccine Institute, weighs in:

We have known that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents like aspirin have some cancer protective effects. This has been mostly for colon cancer — but now we are seeing indications that other cancers, like ovarian, may benefit as well.

We also know chronic daily aspirin use can be associated with serious side effects, such as bleeding and ulcers. For now, the evidence is not strong enough in prevention to recommend taking on that risk of aspirin daily.

Many studies are ongoing looking at lower doses of aspirin and intermittent aspirin usage that may reduce the risk of aspirin for chemoprevention.

This epidemiologic study is a good indication that more studies evaluating aspirin’s beneficial effect in ovarian cancer prevention should be pursued.

Want to learn more? Read a commentary on the topic by Rivkin Center Scientific Advisory Board member, Dr. Victoria Seewaldt (City of Hope).

As always, talk to your trusted health care provider about your personal risk of ovarian cancer. Your doctor can provide prevention methods best suited for you.

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