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.com “Top 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
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