An apple a day may not be the only thing to keep the doctor away.
The U.S. Preventative Task Force published new recommendations on Tuesday that taking a low-dose aspirin every day may help prevent heart disease and colorectal cancer for some people in their 50s and 60s.
The task force, an independent and volunteer panel of national experts, found that aspirin can help prevent heart attacks and strokes in adults ages 50 to 69 who have increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but who are not at risk of bleeding. The task force also found that taking aspirin for five to 10 years can reduce the possibility of developing colorectal cancer.
It recommended that most adults aged 50 to 59 at increased risk of cardiovascular disease take low-dose aspirin daily after consulting with their primary care doctor.
The task force said there is not enough evidence about the possible benefits or harms of daily aspirin use in adults younger than 50 or over 70 years old in order to either recommend or discourage daily use. But the recommendation applies to adults 40 years old and older who haven’t been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, who don’t have an increased risk of bleeding, have at least a 10-year life expectancy, and are willing to take the low-dose aspirin daily for at least 10 years.
For adults ages 60 to 69, the task force recommends speaking with a primary care doctor about whether a low-dose aspirin should be taken daily.
It is the first time the task force has recommended aspirin use in this way for those age ranges, according to CNN.
“Since our last recommendation in 2009, there has been a significant amount of science that allowed us to make a better recommendation,” former task force chairman Dr. Michael LeFevre told CNN. “What’s new is our recommendation that incorporates reduction of colon cancer. We combined the potential benefits for cancer with the potential benefits for cardiovascular disease. That’s new and I don’t think it is either widely known or certainly not widely incorporated into a decision that balances benefits and harms.”