Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Surviving Breast Cancer

There's new information indicating that a daily dose of baby aspirin can have important benefits for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Aspirin may help save breast cancer patients
Aspirin may offer a powerful way to help breast cancer patients survive the disease, according to a large new study.

An analysis of data collected from 4,164 breast cancer patients participating in the well-known, highly respected Nurses' Health Study found that those who took aspirin regularly were about half as likely as those who did not to die from the malignancy. They were also about half as likely to have their cancer spread elsewhere in their bodies, according to a paper published online Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Previous studies examining whether aspirin use may reduce the risk of getting diagnosed with breast cancer in the first place have produced mixed results. One earlier study found that people with colon cancer who took aspirin lived longer than those who did not. The new study is the largest to examine whether aspirin could help women who had already been diagnosed with breast cancer.

It remains unclear how aspirin may have this benefit. But researchers suspect it may be due to the drug's ability to reduce inflammation in the body.

MIchelle Holmes of the Harvard School of Public Health, who led the study, cautioned that more research is needed to confirm the findings before recommending that breast cancer patients take aspirin to increase their chances of surviving.

While the study was big and well conducted, it is an "observational" study, which means it can only suggest relationships, not prove them. The only way to do that would be to give some women aspirin and others a placebo and follow them over time to see if it works.

Several other experts concurred, noting that although aspirin is available over the counter and used casually, it can have serious side effects, most notably increasing the risk for dangerous bleeding.

Obviously, talk to your doc. But, if yours, like mine, recommends a daily aspirin, anyway, to protect v. heart disease, now there's an even better reason to remember to do it. I sprung years ago for one of those little weekly-pill-boxes at the drug store, the kind w/ a tiny little compartment for each day of the week. On Saturday, I refill it w my vitamins, aspirin, and any other needed meds and do a serious bit of reiki on the whole thing. I keep it by the coffee pot and it's easy to remember to take the meds first thing in the morning (and to check and see if I forgot).

Picture (and instructions) found here.


Teacats said...

Yep. Daily small aspirin dose here too. Breast cancer is part of our family. My mum got breast cancer just after I was born -- and has survived for 50 years -- and is now 89 years old. They gave her so much radiation that they called it the "cobalt bomb" and she was left with an enlarged arm. She believed in a daily dose of dry to medium sherry or brandy or perhaps a really well-made Manhatten! LOL!

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

Hecate said...


I take the daily aspirin AND a Stoli martini. Maybe they balance each other out; martinis are NOT recommended for breast cancer survivors. But, you know, if something's going to kill me, I'll take Stoli over, say, pesticide.

Teacats said...

I'll take the martini anytime! Mum is a tiny Scots lady with a will of iron ... and a good Christian .... that also has a stock of very Olde Ways. Mum would always leave a bit of food or "something" for the Wee Folk. We don't have red-and-white flowers in the house (those are funeral flowers and represent blood and tears in Scotland); we don't look at the New Moon through glass (bad luck!); we celebrate Hogmany (first footing!) and Burns Night; we don't wear opals (bad luck!); we don't walk widdershins around the kirkyard -- just to name a few! Oh -- and my Grandma in Scotland could read the tea leaves! And Mum visited the Gypsies for readings! LOL!

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

Anonymous said...

• Smile is the shortest distance between two people.
• Those who are able to control their rage can conquer their most serious enemy.
• Knowledge and skills are tools, the workman is character.
• Being careful in judging an opinion is a sign of wisdom.
• You recognize birds from their singging, you do people from their talks.