Aspirin v (Prostate) Cancer

Life – Terror. Ecstasy. Fight. Denial. Flight. Failure. PAIN. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Hope. Love. Peace – Death.

Aspirin is a commonly used medication with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, and it is widely used to reduce the risk of ischaemic heart disease-related events and/or cerebrovascular accidents.

I have been self-medicating 75mg dispersible aspirin for, consistently for at least 10 years after reading an article hailing it’s many benefits. Both of my parents died from heart related issues, my mother aged only 46.  

There is now additional research (evidence) from epidemiological and interventional studies to suggest that regular (low dose) aspirin use can reduce the risk of prostate (and other) cancers development and progression, and can reduce the risk of disease recurrence following anti-prostate cancer therapy.

Aspirin use in African-American men is associated with a reduced incidence of advanced PCa and reduced disease recurrence, and there is evidence from other studies of an association between regular aspirin use and decreased PCa-related mortality.

The cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme inhibited by Aspirin and other NSAIDs, and which catalyses prostaglandin synthesis and mediates inflammation, is overexpressed in prostate cancer, therefore inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 may have direct, and indirect, therapeutic effects.

Professor Richard Bryant published a review that explores the evidence suggesting that aspirin use can modify prostate cancer biology and disease characteristics, and explores the potential mechanisms underpinning the observed associations between aspirin use and modification of prostate cancer risk. It also summarises the potential for adjuvant aspirin use to combine with other therapeutic approaches such as radical surgery and radiotherapy.

I have included a link to the full published review at the bottom of this post however, the summary points below are encouraging –

  • Epidemiological and interventional studies suggest aspirin reduces prostate cancer development, progression, and recurrence post-therapy.
  • Aspirin use in African-American men is associated with reduced incidence of advanced prostate cancer, and reduced disease recurrence.
  • Cyclooxygenase-2 catalyses prostaglandin synthesis and mediates inflammation, is inhibited by Aspirin, and is increased in prostate cancer. Inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 may have direct, and indirect, anti-prostate cancer therapeutic effects.
  • Aspirin can modify prostate cancer biology and disease characteristics, and can modify prostate cancer risk.
  • Adjuvant aspirin use may be combined with other therapies such as radical surgery and radiotherapy.

It might seem strange to have a popular book of more than 300 pages dedicated to just one drug. But aspirin is a special case. One of the most brilliant medical historians and journalists of our time, the late Roy Porter, wrote a book called The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present (BMJ 1998;316: 713 [Google Scholar]).

Diarmuid Jeffreys, a journalist and television producer, has written an inspiring story based on archival sources, interviews, and an amazing knowledge of the relevant literature. His book clearly demonstrates that the border between academic medical history and journalistic investigation is blurred.

Jeffreys describes aspirin as, among other things, “the most remarkable drug the world has ever seen,” “one of the astonishing inventions in history,” and “one of the most endurable successful commercial products of all time.” Such claims are well substantiated.

Aspirin is not only the subject of about 26,000 scientific papers, but also a cultural icon that has appeared in the writings of George Orwell (The Road to Wigan Pier), Graham Greene (Stamboul Train), and Edgar Wallace (The Door with Seven Locks). In 1930 the Spanish writer Jose Ortega y Gasset dubbed his era “the aspirin age.”

Thanks for Reading


Some additional links

Published by Riff

Husband to my inspirational, (long suffering,) wife Gail, father to two, amazing (adult) children, Aubrey & Perri, teacher, former guitarist. When I started this blog I quickly became granda(r) to my beautiful, first grandson Henderson. Grandparenting, something I was relishing but had began to believe I would not get to experience. I now have three incredible grandsons, Henderson, Fennec and just days ago Nate. I Love people. I love my family, my incredible friends, I have love(d) what I do (my Job), I love Music, Glastonbury Festival, Cars, Everton .... I love many things but, most of all, I fucking love life.

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