Aspirin may decrease risk of pancreatic cancer

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Aspirin may decrease risk of pancreatic cancer

Presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 102nd Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL on April 4, 2011, a study suggested that aspirin may be associated with a decreased risk of pancreatic cancer. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, including Gloria Petersen, PhD (Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Scientific Advisory Board member), surveyed 904 patients who were diagnosed pancreatic cancer, compared to 1,223 age-matched healthy control individuals. Participants in the study were asked to report their use of aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and acetaminophen.

The results were presented by Xiang-Lin Tan, MD, PhD, a research fellow at the Mayo Clinic. Accounting for other variables among patients, Dr. Tan and colleagues observed a 26 percent decrease in pancreatic cancer risk among individuals who took aspirin at least one time per month, compared to those who took no aspirin. There was no relationship seen between NSAIDs or acetaminophen and pancreatic cancer.

More research will need to be done to verify these results. It is important to consult a physician before introducing any new medications, including those available over the counter. There are risks and side effects associated with prolonged aspirin use, and need to be carefully considered.

For more information about this study or other questions about pancreatic cancer diagnosis or treatment, please contact a PanCAN Patient Services Case Manager toll-free at 877-272-6226 or email patientservices@pancan.org. PanCAN Patient Services Case Managers are available M-F 7am-5pm Pacific Time.