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Obesity While Young Boosts Pancreatic Cancer Risk
Date:6/23/2009

Study points to yet another reason to maintain a healthy weight,,,,,,

TUESDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Being overweight or obese as a young adult increases the risk for pancreatic cancer, and obesity in middle age is linked with poorer survival from the disease, a new study finds.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death for men and women in the United States. As the number of people who are overweight and obese has increased in the past two decades, evidence has grown that excess body weight is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.

"The stronger association of excess body weight at earlier adulthood with risk of pancreatic cancer suggests that weight control at younger age should be the primary preventive strategy to reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer," said study researcher, Donghui Li, an associate professor in gastrointestinal medical oncology at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The report is published in the June 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Li's group collected data on 841 people with pancreatic cancer and 754 healthy people.

They found that people who were overweight between ages 14 and 39 or who were obese between ages 20 and 49 had an increased risk for pancreatic cancer. The association was stronger in men than in women, the researchers noted. Those who were overweight or obese and also smoked had an even greater risk.

"For example, in your 30s, overweight was associated with 60 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer and obesity was associated with a two- to threefold higher risk of pancreatic cancer," Li said.

The risk of cancer leveled off for those who started to become overweight or obese at age 40, and the risk became nonsignificant for those whose excessive weight gain did not start until after age 50, Li added.

In addition, people who were o
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