Aspirin shows promise in preventing breast cancer

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Specifically, the reduction was in hormone receptor positive and HER2 negative breast cancers, some of the most common forms of the disease. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Specifically, the reduction was in hormone receptor positive and HER2 negative breast cancers, some of the most common forms of the disease. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Dr. Jeffrey Weber of Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Dr. Jeffrey Weber of Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Dr. David Boyd of Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Dr. David Boyd of Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
GOODYEAR, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

It is a common drug, sold over the counter.  New research shows aspirin may be a powerful weapon in the fight against breast cancer.

That study followed a large group of women in California over many years, says Dr. Jeffrey Weber of Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

"And they began to notice if they took baby aspirin at least three days a week, they noticed at least a 20 percent reduction in a certain type of breast cancer," he explained.

Specifically, the reduction was in hormone receptor positive and HER2 negative breast cancers, some of the most common forms of the disease.

Weber says while that is good news, studies like this do have some limitations.

"It is not like a head-to-head study where you are measuring a placebo versus aspirin in populations that are identical," he said.

Still, he says it is encouraging, along with another study showing aspirin could also reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer.

So, does that mean you should take it upon yourself to start an aspirin therapy?

Dr. David Boyd, also at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, says the answer is no. Aspirin comes with risks of its own.

"Aspirin it works nicely as an anti-inflammatory and, to some degree for pain, but overall it can also increase risk of bleeding," he warns.

“As a gastroenterologist, I have seen hundreds if not thousands of people with ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding caused by taking a baby aspirin every day," Weber agreed.

Weber says it comes down to risk versus reward, meaning you need to talk with your doctor about family history and other risk factors.

"It is critically important that before you start taking an aspirin regimen of any kind, you consult with your doctor," he said.

The answer could be aspirin, other lifestyle changes, or both -- helping empower you to take more control of your health.

"And after discussions with yourself, your doctor, you can come up with a plan that might actually help you prevent some of these diseases," Weber said.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.