A daily aspirin tablet may help prevent bowel cancer, a study suggests. Oxford University found it cut cases by a quarter and deaths by more than a third in a review of 14,000 patients.
Aspirins are already widely used to help protect people against strokes and heart problems, although many healthy middle-aged people do not take them because of the risk of side-effects. But researchers said their findings - published by the Lancet - "tipped the balance" in favour of taking them.
They followed up four study groups over a period of 20 years to identify the impact of regular small doses of of the drug - the tablets given for medical reasons are often a quarter of a strength of those used to treat headaches. They found it reduced the risk of the incidence of bowel cancer by 24% and of dying from the disease by 35%.
And even though regular aspirin use can have side-effects, the researchers said it was still worthwhile as on such low doses these tended to be relatively minor, such as bruising or nose bleeds.