Washington University in St. Louis participated in a study that could reduce the threat of people dying of prostate cancer.

Dr. Ted DeWeese with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore says high-intensity radiation, which concentrates high levels of radiation to specific areas, can cut prostate cancer deaths in half. Another part of the cancer study shows anti-coagulants, such as aspirin, can reduce the number of side effects and subsequent deaths.

He says it reduces problems associated with prostate cancer and surgery such as bowel and rectal complications. He cautions that the study is still in its preliminary stages. He points to other potential problems with aspirin such as stomach and GI bleeding.

The study looked at 5,000 men who started taking anti-coagulants either prior to diagnosis or just post their treatement. The reduction in death rates was more than 50 percent.

DeWeese hopes the study will be definitive within three years, and he says could also apply to breast cancer patients. No one should start aspirin therapy without first talking to their physician about the benefits versus the risks, but he says once patients are in their forties, it’s good to start the conversation.

Breast cancer and prostate cancer are intrinsically linked. Both are hormone driven and both can be genetic, he says.

Jessica Machetta reports [Mp3, 1:15 min.]