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Feb 17, 2010 3:22 PM

Aspirin may stop recurrence of breast cancer

There is something that may be in your medicine cabinet right now that may stop the recurrence of breast cancer.

A Harvard review of 4,000 breast cancer survivors found taking aspirin can cut the chance of recurrence, or death, by 50 percent.

"If it bears out, then this might be one more thing that women with breast cancer can do to live longer and better," said Dr. Michelle Holmes, of Harvard University.

In fact, women who took two to five aspirins a week lowered their risk of the cancer spreading 60 percent and death by 71 percent.

"That would seem to imply that there really was some sort of anti-inflammatory effect going on to help these women to live longer," said Dr. Holmes.

Researchers found similar benefits from drugs called "NSAIDS" - like ibuprofen.

Dr. Wayne Frederick heads Howard University's cancer center.

He has called this study promising. "I absolutely would be interested in having my patients take aspirin if this, in truth, prevents them from dying from recurrence."

But that is a long way off.

This was an observational study, which means scientists relied on patients to report how much aspirin they used.

Scientists said they will need to conduct a large clinical trial to verify aspirin's benefits.

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