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Cancer

Study Links Aspirin Use to Cancer

15 years, 1 month ago

1278  0
Posted on Feb 02, 2004, 7 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Tue Oct 28, 2003 www.yahoohealth.com Abstract:A study raises the possibility that frequent use of aspirin, long thought to prevent some kinds of cancer, may actually increase the likelihood of pancreatic tumors. The research, part of the highly regarded Nurses Health Study at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, came to the unexpected conclusion that women who take aspirin twice daily may have nearly double the risk of this rare form of cancer.

Tue Oct 28, 2003 www.yahoohealth.com

Abstract:A study raises the possibility that frequent use of aspirin, long thought to prevent some kinds of cancer, may actually increase the likelihood of pancreatic tumors. The research, part of the highly regarded Nurses Health Study at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, came to the unexpected conclusion that women who take aspirin twice daily may have nearly double the risk of this rare form of cancer. However, evidence is building that regular aspirin use can reduce the risk of colon cancer, which is three times more common than pancreatic cancer. Aspirin is also routinely recommended to prevent heart attacks. The new results also contradict another large study of aspirin and pancreatic cancer that was reported last year.

"This finding does not mean that women should no longer use aspirin," said Dr. Eva Schernhammer, one of the researchers. "There are still important benefits to the drug."

She said other large studies are needed before experts can draw any conclusions about this potential hazard.

The study, based on a long-running follow up of more than 88,000 female nurses, was presented in Phoenix at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. The study found that women who reported 20 or more years of regular aspirin use, with an average intake of at least two or more tablets a week, had a 58 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer, compared to those who did not take aspirin. Among those who took 14 tablets or more a week, the risk was 86 percent greater.

Last year, researchers from the University of Minnesota reported a similar follow up of more than 28,000 women in the Iowa Women's Health Study. Contrary to the Boston researchers, they found a 43 percent lower rate of pancreatic cancer among aspirin users.

Commentary:The ongoing Nurse's Health Study has revealed some extremely interesting data. While there is conflicting data-the statistics in this report are quite shocking. While colon cancer is certainly more common, pancreatic cancer patients rarely live one year beyond diagnosis. It is one of the most deadly forms of cancer. Aspirin accounts for approximately 15,000 deaths each year-mostly due to gastrointestinal bleeding. In addition to aspirin being an analgesic it is now commonly prescribed to prevent heart attacks. But if you do a thorough review of the scientific literature, there are studies comparing fish oil to aspirin and fish oil is superior in preventing heart attacks. In addition, aspirin plus fish oil is superior to aspirin alone.

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