Data Associating Being Overweight with Increased Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

Further Data Associating Being Overweight with Increased Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

According to an article recently published in Cancer Causes and Control, further data indicates that men who are overweight have an approximately two-fold increase in the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer has one of the highest mortality rates of all cancers. It accounts for approximately 2% of all newly diagnosed cancers in the U.S. each year, but 5% of all cancer deaths. Pancreatic cancer is often called a “silent killer” because its symptoms are usually not recognizable until it has advanced and spread outside the pancreas. As a result, the majority of pancreatic cancers are not diagnosed until they have reached advanced stages and are considered incurable.

One important goal of cancer research is to identify environmental risk factors for different types of cancer. Some factors-such as diet, exercise, pollution, and stress-have been associated with a higher incidence of certain types of cancer. Conversely, high exposure to one or more other factors has been associated with a lower incidence of some cancers. Researchers continue to evaluate environmental factors that may either increase or reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer. This understanding should aid in the development and implementation of better strategies for prevention and/or screening.

In previous studies, results have indicated that individuals who are overweight have a higher incidence of pancreatic cancer. To further evaluate this possible association, researchers from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and Stanford University conducted a study that involved 532 men who have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and over 1,700 men who had not been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Individuals were interviewed between 1995 and 1999, and data from both groups were extensively analyzed and compared. Results indicated that weight at the age of 25 years was strongly associated with the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Individuals in the highest 25th percentile of weight had an approximate two-fold increase in the incidence of developing pancreatic cancer. For those individuals with the highest levels of caloric intake, the risk of developing pancreatic increased to 2.6-times to that of individuals with the lowest caloric intake.

The researchers concluded that men who are overweight at the age of 25 years and those with a large caloric intake are at an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. These results are consistent with findings of other studies suggesting that obesity significantly increases the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Reference: Eberle C, Bracci P, Holly E, et al. Anthropometric Factors and Pancreatic Cancer in a Population-based Case–control Study in the San Francisco Bay Area. Cancer Causes and Control. 2005; 16: 1235 – 1244.

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