FOURTH, November 14, 2018 (HealthDay News) – Obesity in adolescent years may increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer deaths in adulthood, researchers report.
Chances for this rare cancer may quadruple because of obesity, according to the Israeli research team. In addition, the risk increases as weight increases, affecting even men with a high normal weight range.
"It has been known for some time that obesity can increase an individual's risk of developing pancreatic cancer and [this is] an important new finding suggesting that obesity and overweight in adolescence can also affect the risk, "said Allison Rosenzweig, senior director of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
But being overweight or obese does not make you feel sick, said Rosenzweig, who had no role in the study.
"Because pancreatic cancer is a relatively rare disease, it is believed to affect about 55,000 Americans this year, even those at increased risk have a low chance of developing the disease," he said.
Also, because this study looked at the retrospective data, it can not prove that overweight is the cause of pancreatic cancer, only that there is a correlation.
Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, with a five-year survival rate below 10%, according to the cancer network.
For the new study, researchers led by Dr. Zohar Levi, the Rabin Medical Center at Petah Tikva and the Tel Aviv University, collected data for more than 1 million Jews and 700,000 Jewish women in Israel. Participants had physical examinations from 16 to 19 years of age from 1967 to 2002.
Using the Israeli National Cancer Registry, researchers identify cases of pancreatic cancer by 2012. Their follow up revealed 551 new cases of pancreatic cancer.
Compared to normal weight, obesity is associated with an almost four times higher risk for cancer in men. Among women, the risk was slightly more than four times higher, according to the researchers.
Overall, the researchers attributed about 11% of pancreatic cases to overweight teenagers and obesity.
The report was published on the internet on November 12th in the magazine Cancer.
Dr. Chanan Meydan, of the Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Israel, wrote a syntactic accompanying the study. He said that weight gain in adolescence may increase inflammation, which damages the cells and may increase the risk of cancer.
"It would be interesting to find out if the inflammatory process in obesity is linked to the inflammatory process in malignancy. Meydan said.
The mechanism behind the inflammation is "mostly a minute, balanced phenomenon with severe consequences when it is out of balance," he said.
Learn more about how this "control panel" works can help scientists better understand the relationship between obesity and cancer, Meydan added.
The National Cancer Institute of the United States has more for pancreatic cancer.
SOURCES: Chanan Meydan, M.D., Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center, Bnei Brak, Israel. Allison Rosenzweig, Ph.D., Senior Director, Scientific and Clinical Communications, Action Network on Pancreatic Cancer. 12 November 2018, Cancer, live streaming
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