New cancer prevention study needs participants

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Aspirin has long been used to relieve pain and reduce fevers, but could this pill also hold a key to preventing cancer as we age? It's an idea that appeals greatly to 77-year-old cancer survivor Roger Travasos.

"If we can prevent me from every having cancer in the first place, and prevent my children and my grandchildren, my great grandchildren from having this, what a blessing that would be," said Travasos.

That's why Travasos did not hesitate to sign up for the new ASPREE study at the Mary Bird Perkins Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center.  The ASPREE study is the first from the Cancer Center to focus on preventing cancer.

"We're here to treat patients but we're also here to educate patients and help them understand the causes of some cancers," said clinical research director Donna Bryant.

One of those causes is often inflammation. Research has shown that aspirin can help reduce the amount of inflammation in the body. This five year, international study hopes to find out if daily doses of aspirin can keep inflammation down, and prevent cancer development especially in the senior population.

"People are living longer. What we're finding is that as people age there are more chances to develop cancer," said Bryant.

The study is looking for African Americans and Hispanics ages 65 and up, and any ethnicity ages 70 and up.  If chosen, participants will first come in for two quick screening visits. After that they will be given either aspirin or a placebo to take once daily for five years.  Participants will also return once a year for an exam.

Travasos says the whole process takes up very little time, and he hopes others will join in.

"All of us live longer, better lives thanks to the little bitty things that have been learned through research projects like this over time," said Travasos.

The study will also look at other possible health benefits of taking daily aspirin, including improved memory function.

If you are interested in signing up, call the Cancer Center at (225) 215-1353.

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