Boca Raton, FL—Even though the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) concluded that aspirin reduces the risk of colorectal cancer by 40%, new research suggests that compliance with the guidelines is low.

The USPSTF guidelines recommend that, unless a specific contraindication stands in the way, clinicians should routinely prescribe aspirin to all patients with advanced colorectal polyps.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine found that advice is not often followed, however. Their data, published recently in the American Journal of Medicine, showed that only 42.9% of 84 patients with advanced colorectal polyps reported taking aspirin.

To reach that conclusion, the study team analyzed data from structured interviews on 84 patients, ages 40 to 91 years, with biopsy-proven advanced colorectal polyps between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2017.

“These data indicate underutilization of aspirin to prevent colorectal cancer as well as recurrent polyps in these high risk patients,” pointed out senior author Charles H. Hennekens, MD, DrPH.

For the study, trained interviewers conducted brief telephone interviews with 84 men and women with biopsy-proven advanced colorectal polyps. Participants came from 55 clinical practices, and most, 53.6%, were female, with a mean age of 66 years.

Despite low prices and easy availability of aspirin, only 42.9% reported taking it as a preventative, the researchers emphasize.

“These data suggest underutilization of aspirin by patients with advanced colorectal polyps,” according to study authors, who recommend multifactorial approaches by clinicians and their patients, including lifestyle changes and adjunctive drug therapies. Among those are:
• Avoidance and treatment of overweight and obesity
• Regular physical activity
• Adjunctive drug therapies including aspirin

“By utilizing these multifactorial approaches, we believe that these efforts should achieve the most good for the most patients concerning the prevention as well as screening and early diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancers,” Hennekens advised.

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