Taking over-the-counter, low-dose aspirin—or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID)—only a few times a week was found to reduce the inflammation that can lead to prostate cancer in men, according to a recent meta-analysis of a study of 6,390 men.
Aspirin is the main ingredient found in brand-name bottles like Bayer, Excedrin and Bufferin. Other forms of NSAIDS include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) and Naproxen (Aleve). This study found that various NSAIDs reduced prostate cancer risk by 14 percent.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should immediately start popping an over-the-counter NSAID. Like any drug, aspirin has side effects and can interact with other drugs, so be sure to talk to your doctor first. (In some people, for instance, the pill can cause bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.) It’s unknown exactly who might benefit most from this news, but it could be particularly beneficial for men who are at increased risk for prostate cancer, such as men with a family history of the disease and African American men.
Prostate cancer is, unfortunately, very common in men—about 1 in 7 develop the disease. It’s the second most common cancer in men (after skin cancer), and it’s most common in men over the age of 65. This year, roughly 233,000 men will be diagnosed with it, and more than 29,000 will die from it, according to the American Cancer Society.
Most cases of prostate cancer grow slowly, while other types are more aggressive. It occurs in the gland that makes the seminal fluid that transports and nourishes sperm, which is between the bladder and the penis—just in front of the rectum.
If you catch the disease early, you have a better chance of beating it. So be on the lookout for typical symptoms, especially as you get older, such as:
- Blood in the urine
- Blood in the semen
- Trouble urinating
- Decreased force in the stream of urine
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pain in the thighs, hips, or lower back
If you notice anything unusual, talk to your general practitioner or a urologist. Whether or not you should get a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening has become a controversial topic, so ask your doctor what’s best for you.
In the meantime, do everything that you can to prevent this disease, which includes eating lots of fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.
And order a copy of my new book, The Gene Therapy Plan, which contains a detailed story about a patient of mine named Gordon and his three brothers, each of whom were diagnosed with and treated for early-stage prostate cancer. Fifteen years ago, I started them on a gene therapy plan, which outlined 13 different foods and supplements for them to take each week. In the book, you can read about their entire regimen, and why each nutrient helps. I’m happy to tell you that today they remain cancer-free.
The study was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting on 9-29-14.