Mercy Gastroenterologist Dr. Patrick Hyatt Discusses New Study Links Baby Aspirin To Preventing Colon Cancer

June 6, 2011
Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy - Achlasia

Mercy gastroenterologist Dr. Patrick Hyatt

A new study is showing how important baby aspirin may be in helping people at risk for colon cancer avoid the disease.

According to gastroenterologist Dr. Patrick Hyatt of the Melissa L. Posner Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy, the colonoscopy is the best way to avoid getting colon cancer because polyps can be found and removed. However, in a large 20-year study published in the British journal, The Lancet, it was found that baby aspirin can also be a tool.

"Over 14,000 patients were in this study. What they showed was that with baby aspirin, you could reduce the risk of colon cancer by up to 30 percent, which was much higher than previously reported," Dr. Hyatt said.

Daily aspirin also helps patients in other ways.

"It empowers the patient and gives them an active role in the process and makes it more likely that they'll follow up with me at the next scheduled colonoscopy, whether it be three or five years, depending on history," he said.

Mary Jo Barranco, 58, said her mother died from colon cancer. Barranco didn't have her first colonoscopy until she was 51, partly because she didn't realize her mother's death put her at higher risk.

"I don't think I realized that in the beginning, but then you start to hear things and, afterwards, I was 51 when I thought, 'I'd better get a colonoscopy,'" she said.

Barranco noted that she’s going to add a daily baby aspirin to her regimen. She has a follow-up colonoscopy in June, which will be her third.

"I was really very scared that first time because I didn't know what they would find. They found a small benign polyp. I came back in two years, and all was clear. They bumped me up to five (years). This is my fifth year," she said.

The study also found that a baby aspirin was just as effective as a full-strength aspirin at preventing colon cancer with less risk of bleeding.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit, MDMercyMedia on FacebookTwitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

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