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The one hundred honoree: Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH

Innovation Story

The one hundred honoree: Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH

Mass General Giving

The research of Andrew Chan, MD, MPH, has substantially contributed to evidence that taking aspirin regularly has been linked to a lower incidence of colorectal cancer, a milestone in cancer prevention. In 2017, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force formally recommended the use of low-dose aspirin for the prevention of colorectal cancer and heart disease for many U.S. adults.

Dr. Chan has led seminal work understanding the key mechanisms by which aspirin prevents colorectal cancer. These studies have been used to develop novel methods of risk stratification for precision chemoprevention. Recently, he also demonstrated that an aspirin regimen is associated with a 5% lower risk of developing cancer across all tumor types, compared to individuals that did not use aspirin. His study found that this overall lower rate was mostly associated with lower rates across all gastrointestinal cancers. This suggests aspirin benefit is particularly strong in gastrointestinal cancer, but may also have an impact on other tumor types as well. These original contributions are a hallmark of Dr. Chan, an international authority in cancer prevention and a leader in the epidemiology of colorectal cancer and other digestive diseases.

An associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Chan is chief of the Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit, and the program director for gastroenterology training at Mass General. Recognition includes a Top Ten Clinical Research Achievement award by the Clinical Research Forum, the Martin Prize in Clinical Research by the MGH Scientific Advisory Committee, and the Stephen Krane Lectureship by the Mass General Department of Medicine. He was named a 2017 MGH Research Scholar. As a clinical gastroenterologist, Dr. Chan specializes in familial gastrointestinal cancer syndromes and cancer prevention.