Local doctors are urging caution following recent suggestions that a daily dose of aspirin could reduce the chances of developing some cancers.

Researchers have suggested that long-term use of low-dose aspirin by people aged 50-64 could significantly cut the chance of dying from gastrointestinal illnesses such as bowel and stomach cancer.

As a result some pharmacies have noticed an increase in sales of aspirin following widespread media coverage of the suggestions.

However residents should be aware that there are risks associated with long-term use of the drug.

NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is advising anybody considering self-prescribing a daily dose to seek guidance from their local pharmacist first.

Aspirin inhibits the formation of substances that protect the stomach’s lining. Stomach upsets or bleeding in the stomach and intestines can occur as a result.

Suitability for a daily-dose of the drug depends upon a number of factors, including; your medical history, age, weight and any current medication being taken.

Pharmacists are expert health professionals, who focus on the safe and effective use of medication. They can provide in-depth guidance on whether you should or shouldn’t take aspirin, without the need for a GP appointment.

Dr Adam JanjuaDr Adam Janjua, a Fleetwood GP and the CCG’s clinical cancer lead, said: “Whilst there is evidence to suggest a daily-dose of aspirin has its benefits there are undoubtedly risks from self-prescribing the drug. It can cause serious health harms, especially in people with pre-existing conditions such as stomach ulcers.

“If you are thinking of taking aspirin regularly or have already begun doing so, I would encourage you to speak with your local pharmacist about the pros and cons. Pharmacists can advise you accordingly depending upon your medical history and other factors.

“It’s not necessary to make an appointment with your GP to discuss this but obviously if you began to notice any serious complications since beginning aspirin use you should see your doctor.”

If you have already been advised to take aspirin by your GP or pharmacist and are concerned about its possible health harms, do not stop taking the drug before first checking with your GP or pharmacist.