Diabetes Pill (Metformin) Improves Survival in Patients with Deadly Pancreatic Cancer





 

New research suggests that the diabetes medication metformin significantly improves survival in patients with deadly pancreatic cancer.



 

 

DIABETES PILL (METFORMIN) IMPROVES SURVIVAL IN PATIENTS WITH DEADLY PANCREATIC CANCER

Despite the many recent advances in cancer treatment, pancreatic cancer remains one of the most lethal of all forms of cancer.  An aggressive form of cancer which frequently spreads before patients are even aware that they have the disease, pancreatic cancer remains highly resistant to cure even with aggressive surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.  As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, diabetes is a known risk factor for pancreatic cancer (as are obesity and smoking).  In my book, I also discuss preliminary research evidence suggesting that metformin, a common oral medication used to treat diabetes, may actually have anti-cancer properties in diabetic patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (and, perhaps, in other types of cancer, and in non-diabetic patients, as well).  Now, another newly published clinical research study adds further weight to the hypothesis that metformin may indeed improve survival among diabetic patients diagnosed with this dreaded form of cancer.  This new study appears in the current issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

In this study, the outcomes of 302 patients with pancreatic cancer were studied.  Among these patients, 117 were taking metformin, while 185 patients were not taking metformin for their diabetes.  In this retrospective clinical study, the two-year survival rate among the patients taking metformin was 30 percent, while the two-year survival among the patients receiving other types of treatment for their diabetes was only 15 percent.  In fact, the patients who took metformin experienced a 36 percent overall lower risk of death when compared to the patients who were not taking metformin for their diabetes.  (Of note, metformin appeared to prolong life only in those pancreatic cancer patients with cancers that had not yet spread, or metastasized, outside of the pancreas.)

A major limitation of this study is, of course, its retrospective nature.  However, there are currently over 100 ongoing prospective clinical research trials looking at the use of metformin in pancreatic cancer, as well as in colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and other types of cancer (and in both diabetic and non-diabetic cancer patients).  Based upon the available, and encouraging, retrospective data linking metformin with increased survival among pancreatic cancer patients (including the data reported by this study), I have started to selectively place some of my pancreatic cancer patients on metformin, in addition to their other standard pancreatic cancer therapies, given the dismal outcomes typically associated with this form of cancer.  I will, therefore, be very interested to see the results of ongoing prospective, randomized metformin clinical studies in patients with pancreatic cancer, once this data becomes available.

As metformin is a prescription drug used, specifically, to treat diabetes, this medication should only be prescribed by your physician for the treatment of diabetes at this time.


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, 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


 

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 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  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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Aspirin May Reduce the Risk of Deadly Pancreatic Cancer

Welcome to Weekly Health Update



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



 

ASPIRIN MAY REDUCE THE RISK OF DEADLY PANCREATIC CANCER

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 Amazon.com “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:

Texas Blues Jam


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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Aspirin May Prevent Pancreatic Cancer

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”



 

ASPIRIN MAY PREVENT PANCREATIC CANCER

Pancreatic cancer is a relatively rare form of cancer (fewer than two percent of adults in the United States will ever be diagnosed with this form of cancer). However, although rare, pancreatic cancer is an extremely lethal type of cancer, with an average 5-year survival rate of only 5 to 8 percent, overall. Therefore, as I discuss extensively in my recent book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, any cancer prevention strategy that even modestly decreases the risk of this terrible form of cancer should be carefully considered.

Aspirin belongs to a class of medications known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Aspirin, like other NSAIDs, blocks a key enzyme that leads to inflammation in our bodies. This enzyme, cyclooxygenase, is also known to play an important role in the development of several types of cancer, and so aspirin, and other NSAIDs, have been extensively studied as potential cancer prevention drugs.

A new pancreatic cancer prevention study from the prestigious Mayo Clinic appears in the current issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research. In this clinical study, 904 patients with known pancreatic cancer were compared with 1,224 healthy “control” patients with the same age and sex distribution as the group of patients with pancreatic cancer. The frequency and dose of aspirin intake was then evaluated for both groups of patients.

In this clinical research study, the use of aspirin one or more days per month was associated with 26 percent decrease in the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Among patients who took low-dose aspirin each day to prevent heart disease, the protective effect against pancreatic cancer appeared to be even greater, with an observed 33 percent decrease in the risk of developing pancreatic cancer in this sub-group of patients.

While a randomized, placebo-controlled, prospective clinical research trial will be necessary to confirm the encouraging findings of this clinical research study, the findings of this “case control” study are, nonetheless, very compelling. Moreover, the findings of this retrospective study are very similar to the findings of both retrospective and prospective clinical research studies that have previously identified a similar reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer with aspirin and other NSAIDs.

As aspirin can cause significant adverse health effects, including GI tract ulcers, GI tract bleeding, and kidney damage, aspirin therapy should only started with the approval of your physician.

 

For my previous columns on aspirin as a cancer prevention drug, please click the following links:

Low Dose Aspirin Reduces Colorectal Cancer Risk

Aspirin & Breast Cancer Survival

Aspirin & Colorectal Cancer Prevention; Fish Oil & Respiratory Infections in Children

 


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 Amazon.com “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:

Texas Blues Jam


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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Pancreatic Cancer Risk, Sodas & Juice

February 14, 2010 by admin  
Filed under Cancer

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update




“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers” 


PANCREATIC CANCER RISK, SODAS & JUICE 

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest of all types of cancer.  Nearly 45,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer were diagnosed in 2009 in the United States, and more than 35,000 deaths due to this disease occurred during the same year.  At the time of diagnosis, the vast majority of patients with this terrible disease are already incurable, and overall, 5-year survival rates remain a dismal 5 percent at this time.  Even among the small minority of patients who are diagnosed with pancreas cancer at a relatively early stage, when the tumor is still confined to the pancreas, the 5-year survival rate is only in the 15 to 20 percent range.

The only possible hope for pancreatic cancer cure is very radical surgery, which is often followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy.  For most patients with pancreatic cancer, however, surgery is not even an option due to the advanced stage of their cancer at the time of diagnosis.  Therefore, efforts to prevent pancreas cancer are critically important in decreasing the death rate from this aggressive and treatment-resistant type of cancer.

There are several known risk factors for pancreatic cancer.  These include smoking, obesity, diabetes, chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), and chronic liver disease.  Because of the known links between pancreatic cancer, diabetes and obesity, there is concern that regularly consuming foods that significantly elevate the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood may also increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

A new large-scale prospective public health study, just published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, adds further evidence that the regular consumption of sugar-rich foods may indeed increase the risk of developing this deadly type of cancer.  In this study, nearly 61,000 patient volunteers within the Singapore Chinese Health Study were followed for up to 14 years by researchers.  All of these volunteers were extensively surveyed regarding their consumption of juices, sugary sodas (“soft drinks”), and other dietary items.  Additionally, other lifestyle factors and environmental exposures linked to various types of cancer were assessed within this very large group of patients. 

Within 14 years of the beginning of this very large epidemiological study, 140 new cases of pancreatic cancer were diagnosed within this cohort of patient volunteers.  When the researchers analyzed all of their data, they discovered that the consumption of 2 or more sodas per week was associated with nearly twice the risk of developing pancreatic cancer when compared to not drinking any sodas at all (fortunately, there appeared to be no link between juice intake and pancreatic cancer risk). 

The findings of this study add further evidence to previous similar studies regarding the intake of so-called “high glycemic index” foods and pancreatic cancer risk.  As these same sugar-rich foods also directly contribute to the development of both diabetes and obesity, it is not surprising that scientists have begun to identify common biochemical pathways that link excessive calorie intake from sugar-rich foods with all three of these life-threatening diseases. 

I will be discussing the known risk factors (and evidence-based prevention strategies) for pancreatic cancer, and for many other cancers, in much greater detail in my new book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” which is due to be published in the spring of this year.  Meanwhile, if you currently drink sodas containing sucrose or fructose on a regular basis, you might want to seriously consider eliminating these soft drinks from your diet altogether. 



In view of the extreme devastation and human misery brought about in Haiti by the recent earthquake, Weekly Health Update asks our tens of thousands of caring readers to give generously to established charities that are currently working in that country to assist the injured, the ill, and the homeless there.  There are many such legitimate charities, including the following two:


http://www.redcross.org/

http://www.imcworldwide.org/haiti


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, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an oncology consultant, and a widely published author



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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-Tdv7XW0qg


 

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