Daily aspirin can ward off cancer: study

The review of more than 200 studies shows that long-term use of aspirin significantly reduces the risk of developing major cancers, mostly affecting the digestive tract, and dying from them.

If everyone in the UK aged 50–64 took aspirin for 10 years, an estimated 130,357 cancer deaths could be avoided over two decades, the study found. Fatal myocardial infarction would also be prevented in a further 9473 people. 

On the other side of the equation, population-wide aspirin use would be expected to cause just under 18,000 deaths over 20 years, mainly due to bleeding and strokes.

However, the scientists believe the scales are tipped firmly towards aspirin when weighing up the risks and benefits of the drug.

Lead researcher Professor Jack Cuzick, head of Queen Mary, University of London's Centre for Cancer Prevention, stopped short of urging GPs to prescribe aspirin to healthy patients but added: "I think they should recommend it."