Can’t we give something natural a try first?
In March, two studies were published which suggested that aspirin may be an inexpensive and powerful weapon to fight cancer. This isn’t surprising. Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory and most anti-inflammatories seem useful against cancer.
Specifically, the studies showed that a daily dose of aspirin may significantly reduce the risk of many cancers, and prevent new tumors from spreading.
The downside? Daily or long-term use of aspirin doubles the risk of internal bleeding—and can cause hemorrhagic strokes—yet doesn’t reduce the risk of heart attack in people who have not previously had heart problems.
The gut lining protects itself from damage by producing nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen sulphide (H2S). Now a scientist has developed what he calls “NOSH-aspirin,” which produces both gases as it breaks down, thus recreating the stomach’s protective mechanism.
Unfortunately, there are a number of serious concerns with this approach:
- Aspirin is still a chemical substance (acetylsalicylic acid) that can have serious side effects on the body; the new formulation doesn’t even address the serious risk of hemorrhagic strokes.
- Aspirin is part of a group of medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Four times as many people are killed each year by common NSAID painkillers like aspirin as are killed by the H1N1 swine flu virus.
- Gas-filled aspirin may ease the symptom (protecting the stomach against gastric bleeding), but the root of the problem (the fact that aspirin causes the bleeding) remains unaddressed.
- It is unclear whether NOSH-aspirin will actually work!
- Healthy people shouldn’t be taking drugs on a daily basis as a preventive.
Using drugs as preventives—even an over-the-counter drug as commonplace as aspirin—is the best way for pharmaceutical companies to increase their profits: create a product, convince healthy people they need to take it every day, then make another product to deal with the undesirable side effects, which in turn will produce other undesirable side effects, and so forth and so on.