Can aspirin help in cancer battle? King’s Lynn hospital joins trial

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Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is taking part in a study to see if regular aspirin use could help prevent certain types of cancer returning.

A number of patients have already signed up and it is hoped more will join the national five-year study, which is sponsored by University College London.

Dr Nicola Ainsworth, the QEH’s principal investigator, said: “It is a very exciting trial to be involved with. If a simple drug can reduce the chances of a cancer returning then this work can have a huge impact on the lives of future patients.”

The trial is focusing on patients who are or have been treated for breast, bowel, prostate, stomach and oesophageal cancer.

The trial requires patients who have recently undergone treatment to regularly take aspirin or a placebo for five years to see if aspirin delays or prevents the disease from returning.

Since launching in April, staff at the hospital’s Macmillan Cancer Unit along with the Research and Development Team have started to work with 13 patients and hope to sign up many more. Nationally, the study is hoping to recruit a total of 9,920 patients.

Patients have been urged only to take aspirin regularly on medical advice.

For the first eight weeks of the trial, the participant takes aspirin every day. If they suffer no side-effects they then move onto the next stage of the trial, where they will be given a set dose of aspirin or placebo every day for five years.

Those taking part are expected to visit the hospital 12 times during the trial for check-ups and later sessions will be conducted over the phone.

Senior Research Nurse Corrine Rankin said: “The research nurses feel very privileged to be part of a cancer patient’s journey.

“We are incredibly grateful to our patients for participating in the study and appreciate it is a big commitment.“

Fellow Research Nurse Hayley Webb added: “We are humbled and privileged by our patients.

“We would like to add that aspirin does have side-effects and we would advise people to take medical advice before taking it on a daily basis.”

The study has been funded by Cancer Research, the UK National Institute for Health Research, Health Technology Assessment Programme and MRC CTU with support from Bayer Pharmaceuticals.

Anyone interested in taking part in the trial should contact Senior Research Nurse Corrine Rankin on 01553 214567.