Aspirin as good as screening for bowel cancer

Regular low-dose aspirin is just as effective in reducing colorectal cancer incidence and mortality as FOBT or sigmoidoscopy screening, according to a systematic review.

The authors say the finding from 15 randomised trials with over 200,000 people has “potentially large implications for policy making in cancer prevention”.

They found that aspirin reduced colorectal cancer incidence by 14% compared with placebo, which is around the same as flexible sigmoidoscopy screening and better than FOBT.

It lowered colorectal cancer mortality rates by 19%, again similar to the effect of sigmoidoscopy or FOBT screening.

The analysis found that aspirin was more effective in preventing cancer in the proximal colon than screening, and that the benefit of flexible sigmoidoscopy was mainly in the distal colon.

This finding suggests a