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Monthly Aspirin Use Linked to Lower Pancreatic Cancer Risk
Date:4/4/2011

MONDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- Taking aspirin even once per month, whether low-dose or full strength, appears to be associated with a marked drop in the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, new research reveals.

Specifically, taking full-strength aspirin once monthly was linked to a 26 percent reduction in the risk of pancreatic cancer. Taking low-dose aspirin, to reduce the risk of heart disease, was associated with an even greater drop (35 percent lower) in pancreatic cancer risk.

The findings, from a team led by Dr. Xiang-Lin Tan, a research fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., are slated for presentation Monday at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, in Orlando, Fla.

"This provides additional evidence that aspirin may have chemoprevention activity against pancreatic cancer," Tan said in a news release from the association.

But, he cautioned, "the results are not meant to suggest everyone should start taking aspirin once monthly to reduce their risk of pancreatic cancer. Individuals should discuss use of aspirin with their physicians because the drug carries some side effects."

To explore the protective potential of aspirin, the investigators focused on 904 pancreatic cancer patients and just over 1,220 healthy individuals, all of whom were seen at the Mayo Clinic between 2004 and 2010.

All of the study participants were at least 55. Questionnaires were completed to assess aspirin use between the ages of 41 and 60, as well as the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen.

Using aspirin at least once per month was linked to a significant drop in pancreatic cancer risk, the research team concluded, even after accounting for other factors that might affect the finding, such as body-mass index and smoking history.

Those who had once smoked but kicked the habit seemed to experience an even stronger protective effect wi
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