Health & Spirit

Gut check: Aspirin and gastrointestinal cancer

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In addition to introducing Emily Wickersham as the future Agent Bishop, the Nov. 19, 2013, broadcast of the "NCIS" episode, "Gut Check," challenged the team's newest associate to solve the mystery of a security breach involving the Secretary of the Navy. Bishop's commitment to solving the case (there was a bug planted in SECNAV's pen) earned her a permanent desk. Seems a successful gut check can change the direction of a career -- and, it turns out, your gut health!

A new study followed more than 130,000 people and found that those taking two or more regular aspirin (325 mg) a week for at least 16 years had a 20 percent lower risk of gastrointestinal cancers from the esophagus all the way to the exit.

Salicylic acid, aspirin's active compound, has been used to treat pain for at least 5,000 years. Today, we know it helps prevent second heart attacks (one 81-mg aspirin twice a day with a glass of warm water before and after), while also protecting against nine other cancers. Thanks to this study, we have an idea about how much is needed to block gastro cancers and how long you have to take it to get the benefit! We also know aspirin's protection fades within four years of not taking it regularly.

There are risks from aspirin, such as increased bleeding, and you can't take it with some other meds, but benefits keep adding up. So check with your doc to see if it's good for your gut and more.


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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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