A new study from American Cancer Society researchers suggests that there is a link between daily aspirin use and slightly lower chances of dying from cancer, but that the benefit is smaller than previous studies have shown.

In a paper published on Friday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a team led by ACS researcher Eric Jacobs looked at the association between daily aspirin use and deaths from cancer in the responses from more than 100,000 men and women in a national study. None of the participants had a previously recorded history of cancer.

Between 1997 and 2008, 5138 of the patients in the study died from cancer. In their analysis, Jacobs and his team estimated that the relative risk of dying from cancer among people that took aspirin every day for five years or more was about 16% less than the risk for those that did not take aspirin.

These results are consistent with an association between daily aspirin use and modestly lower cancer mortality, but are not quite as dramatic as the in a previous study published in the Lancet this past April that found a 37% reduction in risk, the authors wrote.

"Although recent evidence about aspirin use and cancer is encouraging, it is still premature to recommend people start taking aspirin specifically to prevent cancer," Jacobs said in a statement Friday. "Even low-dose aspirin can substantially increase the risk of serious gastrointestinal bleeding."

SOURCE: Jacobs et al. "Daily Aspirin Use and Cancer Mortality in a Large US Cohort." JNCI published online 10 August 2012.