Earlier this year, “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. After his initial treatment, the cancer aggressively reappeared. Now he says he’s come to terms with the fact that the five-year survival rate is around 10%.

Risk factors include smoking; obesity; diabetes; pancreatitis; cirrhosis or hepatitis B; toxic chemical exposure; a family history; and chronic infection with H. pylori. Clearly, you want to avoid pancreatic cancer. Maybe you can! A 2016 study found that a daily aspirin regimen may reduce your chance of developing it by 50%. But does that mean folks at risk for pancreatic cancer should take a daily aspirin?

It depends on a couple of things, like your heart health and the fact that, in addition to pancreatic cancer, aspirin helps prevent 11 other cancers, including cancers of the colon and breast. The new heart attack prevention guidelines for daily aspirin (81 mg) help balance the risk of internal bleeding or ulcers with aspirin’s far-reaching benefits.

If you’ve had a heart attack, take aspirin as prescribed — always with half a glass of warm water before and after. For those 50-59 with a 10-year risk of more than 10% for developing cardiovascular disease, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends daily aspirin. Check your risk at www.cvriskcalculator.com.

If you’ve never had a heart attack and don’t have risk factors, or are over 70 and never had a heart attack, you can skip the daily aspirin, unless you’re concerned about cancer. Then talk to your doc about taking low-dose aspirin. Dr. Mike says twice a day, if you’re a reliable pill taker.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

© 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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