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It's the cheapest drug on the market: aspirin, well-known as a pain reliever and for its ability to reduce the risk for heart attacks and stroke. Now you can add colon cancer prevention to the list.

We found a reduction of colorectal cancer, about a 20% reduction, said Nancy Cook, the lead author of the study and a professor in the department of medicine at Brigham and Women s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston conducted a randomized trial of about 40,000 women.

The reduced risk was found in those who took low dose aspirin: a 100-milligram tablet every other day for 10 years.

It's important to consider low dose aspirin because it has side effects and the side effects increase with the dose, said Cook.

Side effects include upset stomachs and in rare cases gastrointestinal bleeding. A doctor can help navigate the risks versus benefits for each person.

Other studies have found aspirin may also reduce the chances of developing cancers of the esophagus, breast and skin, including skin cancer's deadliest form of malignant melanoma.

All of this adds to the growing body of research that aspirin may really live up to its long-held reputation as the wonder drug.

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