In a study of nearly 5,300 men with prostate cancer, only 4 percent of those taking blood-thinning medications such as aspirin had died from a recurrence of their cancer after 10 years, versus 10 percent of those not taking the medication — reducing the risk of dying from cancer by more than half.
Blood thinners interfere with blood-clotting mechanisms, said Kevin Choe, M.D., a radiation oncologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and lead author of the study.
"There is good evidence from laboratory studies which suggests that these clotting mechanisms play an important role in cancer growth and spread as well," Choe said.
Because prostate cancer patients tend to be older, many are already taking these medications for cardiovascular problems. Choe's team wanted to see whether they were receiving an additional health benefit.
The study, presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, drew on the national Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urological Research (CaPSURE) database, which included medical records for thousands of prostate cancer patients.
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