Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. It only takes minimal exposure to asbestos to put someone at risk of developing the cancer. However, not everyone who is exposed to asbestos goes on to develop mesothelioma and the condition is actually rare.
There often seems to be no rhyme or reason to who suffers with mesothelioma. There are men who worked with asbestos day in, day out for years, constantly inhaling the dust and fibres, who don’t develop the disease but their wives, who washed their overalls do develop mesothelioma.
There has been a lot of research into the factors that increase someone’s risk of developing mesothelioma and the risk of mesothelioma spreading. A recent study has found that taking aspirin may increase the risk.
Regular low dose aspirin
People who are at a high risk of heart attacks or strokes may be prescribed a low dose of aspirin. It is a blood thinning medicine which makes the blood less sticky and less likely to form blockages.
Recent research has found that in older people, taking low dose aspiring may speed up the growth and spread of cancer cells.
Researchers studied over 19,000 people over the age of 70 in the US and Australia. The participants were split with one group being people who took a daily low dose of aspirin and the other who did not.
Aspirin caused higher risk of cancer spread
Although there was no difference in the incidence of cancer in the two groups, with both having around 950 diagnoses, those in the aspirin group were twice as likely to die due to stage 3 cancer than those who did not take aspirin. There was also a 20% higher risk that the cancer would spread in those who took aspirin.
Lead author, John McNeil, MBBS, MSc, PhD, wrote; “These findings suggest that in older persons, aspirin may accelerate the progression of cancer and thus, suggest caution with its use in this age group.”
Contrary to other studies
The results of this research are contrary to other studies carried out a couple of years ago. One study looked at non-small cell lung cancer which shares a lot of the same characteristics as pleural mesothelioma.
The study found that those who took low dose aspirin lived around five months longer than those who didn’t take aspirin. However, the participants were not split by age and so it is not clear whether there was a difference for those aged over 70, as there was in this more recent study.
Further research is needed
It is clear that more research is needed to fully understand the effects of low dose aspirin and its potential role in causing cancer and we will keep you up to date with any developments.
If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestos compensation claim for mesothelioma or any other asbestos disease, then please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.
Hermann, G, et al, “Concurrent Aspirin Use Is Associated with a Trend in Improved Overall Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer Patients Undergoing SBRT: A Retrospective Review”, September 15, 2019. ASTRO Presentation