Study: Aspirin is vital for cancer patients who have heart attacks

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Cancer patients who suffer heart attacks often do not receive aspirin due to the fear of lethal bleeding. But a new study found that without aspirin, these patients would die.

Since aspirin can thin blood, and cancer patients experience low platelet counts and abnormal clotting, researchers at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center say it could be a deadly mistake not to give aspirin in the event of a heart attack. In fact, they found that 9 of 10 cancer patients with thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) who were experiencing a heart attack and who did not receive aspirin died. Only one patient died in a group of 17 similar cancer patients who received aspirin, researchers noted.

Aspirin helps cancer patients with normal platelet count survive heart attacks, just as it does for people without cancer, according to the research. The study will be published in the February issue of the journal Cancer and is now available in the online journal.