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An Honest to Goodness Miracle Drug?

Apr 22, 2015 02:00PM ● Published by Cate Reynolds

It comes from the bark of graceful willow trees. It can fight fevers, halt or delay heart attacks or strokes, stop pain in its tracks, treat acne, and even get rid of a hangover. Sound like some magic potion brewed up in a in a Harry Potter book? Or maybe it’s just one of the most commonly used over-the-counter medicine on the planet: Aspirin.

Now a new study further enhances acetylsalicylic acid’s street cred—it may reduce the risk of some forms of cancer.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that there was a 20 percent lower risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, especially in the colon and rectum, among people who regularly took aspirin. This is a very extensive study conducted over decades. The largest benefits came to those who had been taking aspirin for at least 16 years. The positive results were the same regardless of race, gender, history of diabetes, family history of cancer, weight, smoking, regular use of other painkillers, or taking multivitamins.

But you know what might be the best thing about aspirin? It’s generic-drug dirt cheap. It is going to be fun to watch and see how Big Pharma tries to spin this latest study into a new, non-generic moneymaker.

--Sarah Hagerty
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