New American Institute for Cancer Research report

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New American Institute for Cancer Research report

On October 4, 2012, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) released a report describing dietary risk factors for pancreatic cancer. The conclusions presented in the report were based on a rigorous analysis that compiled many years’ worth of published studies relating an individual’s weight to his or her risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Consistent with previous findings, the report concluded that about 19 percent of pancreatic cancer cases can be correlated with excess body weight. The association with obesity is not unique to pancreatic cancer. There have also been studies showing correlations between cancers of the breast, colon, esophagus, kidney, endometrium, and gall bladder with excess body weight. Moreover, some of these diseases show a significantly higher correlation than that observed with pancreatic cancer.

The finding that excess weight is associated with 19 percent of pancreatic cancer cases has implications for potential ways to reduce the risk for some cases of the disease in the future, but also means that over 80 percent of instances are not related to the patient’s weight. Other lifestyle factors have also been associated with pancreatic cancer, with smoking showing the most significant relationship. Previous data have suggested that approximately 25 percent of pancreatic cancer cases may be correlated with cigarette smoking. After accounting for the number of pancreatic cancer cases thought to be associated with excess body weight and/or smoking, the causative factors for the majority of instances of the disease are still unknown.

Overall, there is much more research that needs to be done to identify additional risk factors for pancreatic cancer. A deeper understanding of the causative factors and biology of the disease will lead to improved methods to prevent, detect, and treat pancreatic cancer.

For more information about risk factors for pancreatic cancer, or other questions about prevention, diagnosis, or treatment, please contact a Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Patient and Liaison Services (PALS) Associate toll-free at 877-272-6226 or email pals@pancan.org. PALS Associates are available M-F 7am-5pm Pacific Time.

Click here for the AICR press release related to the report.

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