Aspirin May Reduce the Risk of Deadly Pancreatic Cancer

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New research shows that aspirin may significantly reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest of all cancers.



The recent tragic death of Steve Jobs, of Apple fame, due to a rare form of pancreatic cancer has once again focused public attention on one of the deadliest forms of cancer. The more common form of pancreatic cancer, pancreatic ductal cancer, is only the tenth most common form of cancer, but because it is such a lethal disease, pancreatic cancer is actually the fourth most common cause of cancer-related death. Sadly, only about 5 percent of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer will still be alive 5 years later.

In my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, I extensively discuss the available research findings that can help to lower your risk of pancreatic cancer, and other deadly forms of cancer. (Also, please see my recent report on pancreatic cancer prevention on Newsmax.) Now, a newly published clinical research study suggests that aspirin, which has also been shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, may also significantly reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

This new research study appears in the journal Cancer Prevention Research. This clinical research study was performed at the Mayo Clinic, and included 904 patients recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 1,224 healthy age-matched and gender-matched “control” patients. In this case-control study, the impact of aspirin intake was analyzed in both groups of patients.

In this study, the use of aspirin at least one day per month was associated with a very significant 26 percent reduction in the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Among patients who took low-dose aspirin (81 mg per day) every day for heart disease prevention, the risk of pancreatic cancer was reduced by 33 percent.

The findings of this important study suggest that the humble aspirin tablet may significantly reduce the risk of developing what is arguably the most lethal of all cancers (in addition to reducing the risk of colorectal cancer and, potentially, other cancers as well). As I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, even a relatively modest reduction in the risk of the deadliest types of cancer can be an important achievement, because our therapies for these kinds of cancer, including pancreatic cancer, so rarely result in a cure. While this case-control study is not as statistically powerful as a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical research study, prior laboratory and clinical research studies have also shown that aspirin can reduce pancreatic cancer cell growth. The findings of these previous studies, therefore, generally support the findings of this new Mayo Clinic study suggesting that aspirin may, indeed, reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

I must caution readers that aspirin, like all medications, can be associated with significant side effects. In the case of aspirin, specifically, GI tract irritation can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and even GI tract bleeding. Aspirin can also increase the risk of bleeding in other areas of the body, and can be toxic to the kidneys in some patients as well. Therefore, if you are considering the addition of low-dose aspirin to your cancer prevention lifestyle, you should first check with your personal physician to ensure that it is safe for you to do so.

For a comprehensive guide to living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!

Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author

For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

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I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


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2 Comments on "Aspirin May Reduce the Risk of Deadly Pancreatic Cancer"

  1. Vargo on Sat, 17th Dec 2011 8:29 am 

    This is a great blog you have here!

  2. Taylan on Tue, 1st May 2012 6:42 pm 

    Pancreatic cancer can be terated for cure under very specific conditions. It spreads by local invasion and via lymphatic channels. If it is caught early prior to invasion in the local vasculature, it can be treated for cure via several procedures Whipple (pancreaticoduodenectomy), Total Pancreatectomy, or Distal Pancreatectomy. A major issue is catching it early. The symptoms of this disease early on are usually no symptoms, vague abdominal pain, mild discomfort. It is hard to detect. There is also no good screening that is cost effective. The reason for this is the cancer is not that common, and the tests available are not that cheap. This makes for a very inefficient screening method. The ones out there currently that can detect pancreatic cancer include CT scan of the abdomen and Endoscopic Ultrasound. Both of these tests have their own drawbacks. CT scan of the abdomen involves radiation that may set you up for a cancer. Endoscopic ultrasound requires sedation, a specialist (gastroenterologist), and has risks of perforation. Also the tests need to have a high degree of sensitivity (meaning that there is a high number of people who have the disease also test positive). Endoscopic ultrasound is being used more for symptomatic pancreatic cancer, but I do not know of studies used for screening the general population.Another issue is it’s proximity to other organs. It is near the duodenum, stomach, inferior vena cava, aorta. It is also a part of the biliary system and liver. It can spread to many important organs easily.There is some increased hope on the horizon as new chemotherapy drugs are being developed. Dr. Vickers at the University of Minnesota is doing clinical trials on a new medication that will hopefully help with treating the disease.

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