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Brigham and Women’s Hospital

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Breast Cancer Survivors Who Take Aspirin Have Half the Risk of Dying from the Disease

New research shows women who take aspirin after a breast cancer diagnosis lower their risk of a recurrence and death from the disease.

Boston, MA, March 12, 2010 --( New research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) shows that women with breast cancer who used aspirin had a 50 percent lower chance of dying from the disease. This research is published in the February 16 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“In this study, we saw that women who used aspirin had a significant reduction in the risk of death and recurrence of the disease when compared to women who did not use aspirin,” said Michelle Holmes, MD, DrPH, lead author of the paper and a researcher and Associate Professor of Medicine at the Channing Laboratory at BWH.

Researchers collected self-reported data from 4,164 female nurses enrolled in BWH’s landmark Nurses’ Health Study who were diagnosed with Stages I, II, or III breast cancer between 1976 and 2002. There were 341 deaths from breast cancer and 400 recurrences (including the 341 deaths). Researchers analyzed data reported by these women in questionnaires about the frequency of aspirin use one year after their first diagnosis of breast cancer through June 2006 or death, whichever came first. After adjusting for stage of the cancer, menopausal status, body mass index, and cancer treatments; researchers found a significant association between the use of aspirin and a reduced risk of death. Results were also similar for recurrence of the cancer. Specifically, researchers report a 50 percent lower chance of death from breast cancer in aspirin users.

“There are more than 2 million women in the United States living with breast cancer and the risk of death from this disease is elevated even up to 15 years after diagnosis. More research is needed to determine how aspirin, which is a non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug, may work to prohibit the recurrence of breast cancer,” Holmes said.

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

About Brigham and Women's Hospital:-
Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is a 777-bed nonprofit teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a founding member of Partners HealthCare, an integrated health care delivery network. In July of 2008, the hospital opened the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center, the most advanced center of its kind. BWH is committed to excellence in patient care with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery. The BWH medical preeminence dates back to 1832, and today that rich history in clinical care is coupled with its national leadership in quality improvement and patient safety initiatives and its dedication to educating and training the next generation of health care professionals. Through investigation and discovery conducted at its Biomedical Research Institute (BRI), BWH is an international leader in basic, clinical and translational research on human diseases, involving more than 860 physician-investigators and renowned biomedical scientists and faculty supported by more than $416 M in funding. BWH is also home to major landmark epidemiologic population studies, including the Nurses' and Physicians' Health Studies and the Women's Health Initiative. For more information about BWH, please visit

Contact Information
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Suzanne Benz
(617) 534-1604
75 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02115 USA

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