An aspirin a day could keep mesothelioma at bay
About 12,000 to 15,000 Americans die every year due to asbestos-related illnesses, according to asbestosnation.org, an anti-asbestos organization. However, a recent study conducted by the University of Hawaii Cancer Center showed that aspirin may delay the growth of asbestos-related cancer.
Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory drug that can potentially help people delay or prevent the growth of mesothelioma, a deadly and aggressive form of asbestos-related cancer. Researchers found that using aspirin slowed down the growth of mesothelioma by blocking the carcinogenic effects of the inflammatory molecule, thus helping people survive for a longer period of time.
“Aspirin has long been tied to helping prevent or slow cancer growth,” says Dr. Muhammad A. Hamadeh, pulmonologist and medical director of Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. “Anything that can reduce or inhibit growth of a tumor is a good thing, but this would need to be examined on a larger scale to truly see if it’s a useful tool for patients and physicians.”
Asbestos is a group of minerals that occur naturally as bundles of fibers. The fibers are found throughout the world and are naturally in soil and rocks. According to cancer.org, inhalation of asbestos fibers can increase the risk of lung cancer. However, asbestos is more closely linked to mesothelioma, which can take 30 years or more to develop after the first exposure to asbestos.
This new prevention mechanism could be a breakthrough for people who have been exposed for years to asbestos at work or home. Construction workers, firefighters, industrial workers, power plant workers, and shipyard workers are at the highest risk for exposure, according to asbestos.com.
Next step is for researchers to better understand what exactly causes aspirin to block the molecule that causes mesothelioma.
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