A daily aspirin may lower the risk of pancreatic cancer — which is very important to know, being that this disease has one of the poorest prognosis rates of all cancers.
Yes, taking an aspirin every day may lower the risk of pancreatic cancer, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
So why would aspirin lower risk of pancreatic cancer? Perhaps via the drug’s anti-inflammatory attributes. The study report is in the August 7, 2002 Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The study followed postmenopausal women for seven years, who were part of the IWHS: Iowa Women’s Health Study.
The participants answered the question of how often they ingested aspirin or an aspirin-containing drug, and also how often they ingested other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory products.
Interestingly, the women who reported taking the drug had a less frequent occurrence of pancreatic cancer, than did the women who said they did not take aspirin.
“There is strong evidence to suggest that using aspirin may help in preventing pancreatic cancer, and what’s most encouraging is that we’ve seen these benefits in women who’ve taken aspirin two to five times per week,” says lead author Kristin Anderson, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the School of Public Health.
She further explains that taking the painkiller may prevent 43 percent of pancreatic cancer incidences in women who normally don’t use this drug.
However, more investigation is needed relating to other variables like duration, dose, and types of NSAIDs that may stave off the illness.
Several other smaller studies have also linked aspirin to lowering the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Anderson says that if you decide to implement aspirin use as a tool for lowering the risk of pancreatic cancer, to first consult with your physician.
This study does not establish a definitive cause-and-effect relation between aspirin and lower risk of pancreatic cancer – only an association or correlation. In other words, perhaps women who take this drug several times a week are more likely to do something else – or not do something else – which impacts the odds of developing a malignancy in the pancreas.
Other variables, then, must be adjusted for, such as other health habits. Do women who take aspirin tend to eat more vegetables and fruits than women who don’t use this painkiller? Or maybe women who take this type of product are, for whatever reasons, more likely to adhere to a regular exercise program, or more likely to limit the consumption of red meat or alcohol.