Aspirin use 'may lower pancreatic cancer risk'
Article date: 27 June 2014
Individuals who are prescribed low doses of aspirin over a long period could be at lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer, new research has suggested.
A study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention revealed the longer a person took the pain relief medication, the lower his or her risk of developing the deadly illness, which affects around 8,000 people in the UK each year.
According to the report, members of both sexes who took low-dose aspirin had a 48 per cent reduction in their risk of developing the disease. Researchers found protection against pancreatic cancer ranged from a 39 per cent drop for those who took the drug for six years or less, to 60 per cent reduction for those who took aspirin at a low dose for more than a decade.
Scientists recruited participants from the 30 general hospital in Connecticut between 2005 and 2009, while in-person interviews were conducted to discover when each individual had started using aspirin, the type of aspirin they used and when they stopped.
Findings revealed the earlier an individual started taking low-dose aspirin, the greater the reduction in pancreatic cancer risk. Furthermore, those who stopped taking aspirin within the two years before the study were at a three-times higher risk of developing the illness.
Dr Harvey Risch, professor of epidemiology in the Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut, said while aspirin has potential risks of its own, the medication could be used as a preventative measure by individuals who have a strong family history of the disease.
"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," Dr Risch said, adding: "Because about one in 60 adults will get pancreatic cancer and the five-year survival rate is less than five per cent, it is crucial to find ways to prevent this disease."