The Wall Street Journal has published promising research findings for those who might have prostate cancer. A large cohort study has shown that taking aspirin can lower your chances of developing or dying from prostate cancer.

In men with prostate cancer, taking aspirin regularly can slow down the rate of prostate cancer progression and reduce the risk of the disease turning fatal.

Allard warned that the findings could not be conclusive as the study was only observational. Therefore, more clinical studies would need to be conducted.

The research findings come from a Physicians’ Health Study involving a large cohort of  3,193 men who developed prostate cancer over a 27-year period. Of these, 403 were fatal-defined as such when the cancer metastasized beyond the prostate and resulted in death. But the threat of developing lethal prostate cancer was reduced by 24% if one took aspirin on a regular basis.

Lead researcher Dr. Christopher Allard, an oncologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who was speaking ahead of the Genitourinary Cancers Symposium 2016, noted that people who took aspirin daily after a prostate cancer diagnosis reduced their chances of dying by almost 40%.

However, it was not established whether aspirin usage reduced the overall incidence of prostate cancer. “We found that aspirin intake before prostate cancer diagnosis was not beneficial,” Dr. Allard reported.

Allard warned that the findings could not be conclusive as the study was only observational. Therefore, more clinical studies would need to be conducted in order to draw a direct link between the cause and effect of taking aspirin for a prostate cancer patient.

Still, Dr. Allard opined that aspirin might help in preventing one from developing lethal prostate cancer due to its ability to suppress platelets in the blood. Perhaps the platelets are the main culprits of shielding cancer cells from the immune system.

So by depleting the platelets, the cancer cells are exposed to the immune system and destroyed. This may explain why bleeding is one of the side effects of taking aspirin. Moreover, according to Allard, aspirin may prevent cancer from spreading to other parts of the body like the bone.

However, it is important to note that the study did not find any evidence that taking aspirin will reduce the overall likelihood of being diagnosed with prostate cancer or even advanced prostate cancer. In fact, it was after diagnosis that aspirin appeared to have a real effect on the prostate cancer cells.

Therefore, this should not be a license for men to start taking aspirin in the hope of preventing cancer. In any case, men planning to take aspirin regularly should consult their doctors to understand individual risks and benefits. Although regular aspirin intake is also associated with colorectal cancer protection as well as cardiovascular heart disease, it can result in serious complications such as bleeding and gastrointestinal side effects.

There are about 220,000 new cases of prostate cancer reported in the U.S. every year. It kills about 27,000 people annually, making it the second most common cancer among men.