Aspirin And Breast Cancer Prevention: Is There A Link?

WARNING: unbalanced footnote start tag short code found.

If this warning is irrelevant, please disable the syntax validation feature in the dashboard under General settings > Footnote start and end short codes > Check for balanced shortcodes.

Unbalanced start tag short code found before:

“Aspirin: Question and Answers. U.S. Food & Drug Administration.”

Breast cancer is so common that 1 in 8 women suffer from this disease. There’s a good chance you know at least one person who’s had it. Plus, in the United States, it’s the second top cause of cancer death.[ref]Breast Cancer. WomensHealth.gov, Office on Women’s Health.[/ref] It’s enough to make you wonder if aspirin can really prevent breast cancer.

But word on the street is that it actually can. But this is only partially true, and it comes with exceptions. Here’s what you need to know about aspirin and breast cancer prevention.

What Is Aspirin?

Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory drug that can stop cancer growth

Aspirin is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID. Many use it to treat headaches, soreness, and other minor aches. It goes without saying that this drug works against inflammation.[ref]Pain Relievers. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.[/ref]

Aside from pain, aspirin reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. Millions of

Advertisements
Americans use it for this purpose![ref]Aspirin to Reduce Cancer Risk. National Cancer Institute.[/ref] Additionally, aspirin is taken for inflammatory diseases like arthritis.[ref]Aspirin: Question and Answers. U.S. Food & Drug Administration.[ref] The aspirin we know today is acetylsalicylic acid.[ref]Cheng, Tsung O. “The history of aspirin.” Texas Heart Institute Journal 34, no. 3 (2007): 392.[/ref] And according to research, it might have a role in breast cancer prevention.

Aspirin And Breast Cancer

Taking 3 or more aspirin tablets might reduce the risk of breast cancer

A 2017 study in Breast Cancer Research looked into the link between aspirin and breast cancer. Experts found that taking 3 or more tablets of low-dose aspirin each week reduces the risk, but the relationship isn’t cut and dry.[ref]Clarke, Christina A., Alison J. Canchola, Lisa M. Moy, Susan L. Neuhausen, Nadia T. Chung, James V. Lacey, and Leslie Bernstein. “Regular and low-dose aspirin, other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and prospective risk of HER2-defined

Advertisements
breast cancer: the California Teachers Study.” Breast Cancer Research 19, no. 1 (2017): 52.[/ref] If you plan to go for this drug, keep these 3 facts in mind:

1. Aspirin Only Helps One Type Of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer isn’t just one disease – there are many types. And aspirin only works against a specific kind. It wards off HR-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer, which is less aggressive than HER2-positive.

If you’re wondering, HER2 is a gene: human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. If HER2 doesn’t function properly, it’ll make breast cells grow and divide like crazy.[ref]HER2 Status. BreastCancer.org.[/ref] Aspirin might only make sense if you’re at risk for this type. If you’re not sure, visit a geneticist for testing.

2. Take A Low Dose

A low dose counts as 81 milligrams of aspirin.[ref]Clarke, Christina A., Alison J. Canchola, Lisa M. Moy, Susan L. Neuhausen, Nadia T. Chung, James V. Lacey, and Leslie Bernstein. “Regular and low-dose aspirin, other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and prospective risk of HER2-defined breast cancer: the California Teachers Study.” Breast Cancer Research 19, no. 1 (2017): 52.[/ref] There is an

Advertisements
emphasis on “low” as regular doses don’t have any benefits. A regular dose would be 325 milligrams – much more than the low dose![ref]Regular Strength Aspirin EC. DailyMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.[/ref]

In fact, even 100 milligrams of aspirin won’t reduce the risk.[ref]Clarke, Christina A., Alison J. Canchola, Lisa M. Moy, Susan L. Neuhausen, Nadia T. Chung, James V. Lacey, and Leslie Bernstein. “Regular and low-dose aspirin, other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and prospective risk of HER2-defined breast cancer: the California Teachers Study.” Breast Cancer Research 19, no. 1 (2017): 52.[/ref] This suggests that dosage must be followed closely for any effectiveness.

3. Aspirin Overdose Is Dangerous

More is not always better. Overdose may cause rapid breathing, seizures, fever, heartburn, stomach pain, and fainting. The drug also comes with the risk of bleeding in the stomach and intestines, so be careful.[ref]Aspirin overdose. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.[/ref]

Over time, aspirin builds up in the system. This is another good reason to follow the right dosage.

How Does Aspirin Prevent Breast
Advertisements
Cancer?

Aspirin prevents breast cancer by lowering an enzyme that causes inflammation

According to experts, aspirin works by lowering cyclooxygenase-2, an enzyme that causes inflammation. This is thought to interrupt with tumor growth and spreading.

Aspirin may also work by reducing prostaglandins or fatty acid compounds that have hormone-like effects. It usually increases estrogen with an enzyme called aromatase. But when aspirin fights this process, estrogen-sensitive tumors take a back seat.[ref]Clarke, Christina A., Alison J. Canchola, Lisa M. Moy, Susan L. Neuhausen, Nadia T. Chung, James V. Lacey, and Leslie Bernstein. “Regular and low-dose aspirin, other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and prospective risk of HER2-defined breast cancer: the California Teachers Study.” Breast Cancer Research 19, no. 1 (2017): 52.[/ref]

Aspirin isn’t safe for everyone, and you can even be allergic. It can also interact with over-the-counter, herbal, or prescription drugs.[ref]Regular Strength Aspirin EC. DailyMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.[/ref] So, don’t start taking aspirin because of this

Advertisements
study. First, check with your doctor to determine your risk.