World Bulletin / News Desk
People who smoke or drink heavily may develop pancreatic cancer at an earlier age than those who avoid those habits, according to a U.S. study, but quitting both appears to help.
It's long been known that smoking is a risk factor for developing pancreatic cancer, a disease that is rarely caught early and has a grim prognosis. Only about five of every 100 people diagnosed with the cancer remain alive five years later.
The evidence on heavy drinking has been more mixed, but some studies have suggested it's also a risk factor. The new results, which appeared in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, show the disease may strike smokers and drinkers earlier in life.
"If you do have these habits, and you're going to develop pancreatic cancer, the age of presentation may be younger," said lead researcher Michelle Anderson, at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor.
Her team also found that the effect disappeared for former smokers and drinkers if they had quit 10 years or more before being diagnosed.
On average, the risk of developing pancreatic cancer is about one in 71, and the average age at diagnosis is 72, according to the American Cancer Society.
But in this study, current smokers and heavy drinkers were diagnosed a decade earlier than that.
The findings are based on 811 patients in a pancreatic cancer registry.
Those who were current smokers were typically diagnosed at around age 62, versus age 70 among non-smokers. Heavy drinkers, meanwhile, were typically diagnosed at age 61, almost a decade earlier than non-drinkers.
The findings do not prove that smoking or drinking led to the earlier cancers, but Anderson's team did account for a number of other factors, such as body weight and family history of pancreatic cancer. Smoking and heavy drinking were still linked to earlier diagnoses.
There are 883 confirmed cases of the deadly virus, out of which 319 people have died since 2012, the WHO says
WHO announces one million doses of Ebola vaccine to be produced in 2015
That pact would aim to improve on two decades of stuttering cooperation and rein in emissions of carbon dioxide blamed for a disruptive rise in temperatures
The World Health Organization last month urged the use of blood-derived products and serum from survivors.
Pentagon rapid-response Ebola medical team was scheduled to begin training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas
Extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB), which is even more expensive and difficult to treat than multi drug-resistant (MDR-TB) strains, has now been reported in 100 countries around the world.
Device can be used in the field without special equipment, according to developers
The technique involved transplanting what are known as olfactory ensheathing cells into the patient's spinal cord and constructing a "nerve bridge" between two stumps of the damaged spinal column.
The meeting in Cuba is aimed at keeping Ebola at bay and it brings together senior officials from the ALBA bloc of nations
Wildlife conservationists have struggled to reverse a decline in numbers of several African species, undermined by ferocious poaching by gangs which mostly ship the ivory to Asia.
Jerald Dennis is feeling stigmatized by his neighbors and has been shunned by his friends
Peru's 2,679 glaciers, spread over 19 snow-capped mountain ranges, are the source of the vast majority of the country's drinking water.
Some 85 percent of people said they thought the disease spread through sneezing or coughing, despite the fact that the World Health Organization regards that type of transmission as unlikely
No approved specific drug or treatment available for battling fatal pandemic virus hitting many West African countries
The death toll so far in the outbreak, first reported in Guinea in March, has reached 4,447 from a total of 8,914 cases, said WHO Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward.
The world's fifth-largest user of nuclear power has around 70 percent, or nearly 9,000 tonnes, of its used fuel stacked in temporary storage pools