Researchers continue to look for links between aspirin and cancer after a series of recent research projects have found positive outcomes from aspirin consumption. We already know that aspirin consumption can help prevent certain types of cancer and aspirin may also be of use in the treatment of colon cancer. This time research has found that low doses of aspirin may reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer.
The research was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention and was title “Case-Control Study of Aspirin Use and Risk of Pancreatic Cancer”.
While pancreatic cancer is one of the less common forms of cancer, it is extremely deadly, with more than 90% of patients dying within the first 5 years of diagnosis. The most common form of pancreatic cancer manifests in the parts of the organ that produce enzymes. Pancreatic cancer can also affect parts of the pancreas that disrupt it’s ability to function correctly.
The study looked at 360 patients with pancreatic cancer and nearly 700 who did not have the disease. Researchers looked at aspirin consumption among the sample group then used that data to look for correlations with pancreatic cancer.
Researchers considered doses in the 75 to 325 milligram range “low dose”. People interested in preventing heart disease usually take aspirin doses in that range. Researchers found that people who were taking low doses of aspirin had a 39% lower risk of having pancreatic cancer. For people who had been taking aspirin for a long time (10 years or more), the pancreatic risk was a massive 60 percent lower.
While researchers believe there is a link between the drug and lower risk of cancer, they are not sure how the link works just yet. We do know it reduces inflammation within the human body, so that may be playing a role in lowering pancreatic cancer risk.
Before you run off to stock up on aspirin, it is important to note that taking aspirin carries another set of risks. Those risks can include stomach ulcers and bleeding in the stomach or brain.
The American Cancer Society does not endorse the use of aspirin as a cancer preventative. However there is a growing body of research that points towards a link between cancer prevention and aspirin. This research may eventualy lead to new medicines which act like aspirin but don’t have the disadvantages of the drug.