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Aspirin Not a Substitute for Colorectal Cancer Screening

I’m a healthy, 53-year old female with a family history of colorectal cancer. Should I be taking a baby aspirin every day to lower my risk?

“Research studies suggest that taking a daily baby aspirin may lower the risk of developing colorectal cancer,” says John I. Hughes, MD, FACP, FACG, Department Chair of Gastroenterology at Kelsey- Seybold Clinic. “But aspirin should never be used as a substitute for regular screening tests. If you are 50 years or older, colorectal cancer screenings should be as routine as mammograms and pelvic exams are for women. The most commonly recommended methods are: an annual fecal occult blood test (FOBT); a flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years; the combination of annual FOBT and flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years; a colonoscopy every 10 years; or a barium enema every 5 to 10 years. People with a family history of colorectal cancer may need earlier or more frequent tests. Talk to your doctor about when you should begin screening and how often you should be tested.”