Around 8,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK each year, but there could be a surprisingly easy way to reduce this number.
Taking a low dose of aspirin every day may halve the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, according to one of the largest studies into the drug's effects.
Researchers at Yale University, Connecticut, found people who took low-dose aspirin regularly for several years – often to prevent heart disease – had a substantially lower risk of being diagnosed with the cancer.
According to The Guardian, Professor of epidemiology at Yale University Harvey Risch said: "Using low-dose aspirin seems to cut the risk of pancreatic cancer by half."
"We saw significant reductions in risk with short-term usage as well as with long-term usage."
The study looked at regular use of both low-dose aspirin (75 to 325 mg. per day, taken for heart disease prevention) and regular-dose aspirin (325 to 1,200 mg. taken for pain or anti-inflammation purposes).
Overall, both low-dose and regular-dose aspirin reduced the risk for developing pancreatic cancer by half. Significantly, among those who took aspirin for more than 10 years, the risk reduction was even higher — 60%.
The authors suggested that people with a strong family history of pancreatic cancer may want to consider a daily aspirin regimen to reduce their risk.
"The thought that there's something that could lower the risk of someone getting pancreatic cancer is remarkable and exciting to me as a physician who has patients who have gotten - and died from - pancreatic cancer," said CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook. "There's very little we can do for most people that get pancreatic cancer."