Low-Dose Aspirin could prevent Pancreatic Cancer
A daily low-dose aspirin regime could be vital for some people, a new study reported. According to researchers from the Yale School of Public Health, small doses of aspirin can reduce one's risk of developing pancreatic cancer, which is one of the deadliest cancers that kills around 40,000 Americans every year.
"The thought that there's something that could lower the risk of someone getting pancreatic cancer is remarkable and exciting to me as a physician who has patients who have gotten -- and died from -- pancreatic cancer," said CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook reported by CBS News. "There's very little we can do for most people that get pancreatic cancer."
Harvey A. Risch, MD, PhD, professor of epidemiology in the Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, CT added, according to Medical Xpress, "We found that the use of low-dose aspirin was associated with cutting the risk of pancreatic cancer in half, with some evidence that the longer low-dose aspirin was used, the lower the risk. Because about one in 60 adults will get pancreatic cancer and the five-year survival rate is less than 5 percent, it is crucial to find ways to prevent this disease."
For this study, the researchers examined the medical records and histories of 1,052 patients gathered from 2005 to 2009. 362 of them had pancreatic cancer and the remaining 690 did not. The researchers compared patients' aspirin use and risk of cancer. They found that people who followed a low-dose aspirin plan for six years or less had a 39 percent smaller risk of developing pancreatic caner. Patients who took low-dose aspirin for more than 10 years had a 60 percent-reduced risk of pancreatic cancer. A low dose of aspirin was defined as 75 to 325 milligrams.
"Aspirin interrupts the inflammatory pathway in the body," explained LaPook. "It turns out those same pathways look like they're part of the pathways that can lead to cancer. If you interrupt those pathways, theoretically that might be the reason why you lower the risk for cancer. We don't know that for sure, but that's one thought."
The researchers stated that people who have a family history of pancreatic cancer or have other risk factors for the disease could benefit from taking low-dose aspirin. However, all patients should consult with their primary care physicians before starting themselves on any kinds of medications.
The study was published in the journal, Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.