Just popping one low-dose aspirin each day could lower your risk for a wide array of cancers, according a study published in the medical journal The Lancet and reported by HealthDay News.

For the study, researchers reviewed eight studies of more than 25,000 patients originally examined to track the effect of aspirin on cardiovascular disease. The patients took a low-dose aspirin regimen of 75 milligrams daily and were followed for up to 20 years.

After checking the data, scientists found that overall cancer death risk fell by 21 percent among patients on the low-dose aspirin regimen. In addition, patients experienced long-term benefits. For example, five years after the study, patient deaths from gastrointestinal cancers decreased 54 percent. In addition, 20 years after starting the low-dose aspirin program, prostate cancer patients saw a 10 percent death risk drop, nonsmoking lung cancer patients a 30 percent decrease in death, colorectal cancer patients a 40 percent drop, and esophageal cancer patients a 60 percent decrease.

“These findings provide the first proof in man that aspirin reduces deaths due to several common cancers,” researchers said.

The team also found that higher doses of aspirin did not provide additional protective benefits, and that the death risk fell most dramatically among older patients. (Scientists suggest that adults who start an aspirin regimen in their late 40s or 50s might reap the biggest benefit.)

But adults shouldn’t immediately begin taking aspirin, warned Peter Rothwell, a neurologist at John Radcliffe Hospital in England and lead study author. Why? Because the bleeding risk associated with healthy middle-age people taking low-dose aspirin “partly offsets the benefit from prevention of strokes and heart attacks.”

Simply put, this means that people who aren’t currently on a low-dose or regular aspirin-taking program should chat with their doctors before they try this regimen.

Did you know you can also lower your cancer risk by making a few easy lifestyle changes? Click here to read more.