An Aspirin a Day Keeps Pancreatic Cancer Away

July 2nd, 2014 @   -  No Comments
 Here’s a bit of good news for those who are taking a daily low dose of aspirin for the prevention of heart attacks.  It seems that a low dose of 75 to 325 mg of aspirin per day can cut the risk of pancreatic cancer by almost half.  In a recent study published in  Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, researchers recruited subjects from 30 general hospitals in Connecticut between 2005-2009.
There were were 362 pancreatic cancer cases and 690 controls. The study subjects were interviewed in person to determine when they started using aspirin, the number of years they used aspirin, the type of aspirin they used (low versus regular dose), and when they stopped using aspirin, among other things. 96% of the participants took a daily low dose of aspirin.
The results were rather remarkable.  The earlier a person started regularly taking low-dose aspirin, the greater the pancreatic cancer risk reduction, ranging from 48 percent reduction in those who started three years before the study, to 60 percent in those who started taking it 20 years before the study. On the other hand, if the subject stopped taking aspirin within two years before the study was conducted, they were three times more likely to increase their risk for developing pancreatic cancer.
Before you run out and buy a bottle baby aspirin, please understand the following.  Not taking aspirin doesn’t mean you will develop pancreatic cancer.  The folks who stopped taking  aspirin  were probably already developing pancreatic cancer and most likely stopped taking aspirin because they were developing physiologic changes associated with pancreatic cancer including taste disorders.  While there was an association with those folks who stopped taking aspiring and development of pancreatic cancer, the study cannot conclusively say that stopping daily aspirin will indeed cause pancreatic cancer.
In addition, aspirin consumption has its own potential risks. Each patient should consult their physician whether a daily low dose of Aspirin will be of benefit.  One thing however is remarkably clear in this study.  For the subset of the population that has a strong family history of pancreatic cancer or who have been evaluated to be at increased risk for developing pancreatic cancer, aspirin certainly looks like it can reduce that risk by almost half (48% to be exact).

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