Study Suggests Aspirin Reduces Pancreatic Cancer Risk
Lisa Schulmeister, RN, MN, APRN-BC, FAAN
A recent study links aspirin use to a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer.
About 53,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017 and nearly 42,000 will die of this disease. Because of pancreatic cancer’s high mortality rate, researchers have been investigating ways to reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer. One risk reduction possibility is aspirin use.
Researchers conducted a population-based study of 761 case and 794 control subjects, matched on gender and age, from 2006-2011. Data included regular use of aspirin, tablets per day or week, and ages that the use started and stopped. Data were analyzed by unconditional logistic regression, with adjustments for age, gender, education, body mass index, years of cigarette smoking, cigarettes smoked per day, Helicobacter pylori CagA seropositivity, ABO blood group, and history of diabetes mellitus.
Regular use of aspirin was associated with a lowered risk of pancreatic cancer and this risk decreased 8% per each cumulative year of aspirin use. Across this and 18 published studies of this association, the overall risk of pancreatic cancer for regular use decreased for any aspirin type as well as low-dose aspirin.
The researchers concluded that regular use of aspirin appears to reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer by almost half; however, long-term aspirin use increases the risk of bleeding complications, which necessitates a risk—benefit analysis for individual decisions about aspirin use for cancer prevention.