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HHS HealthBeat (December 21, 2012)

Smoking, drinking and pancreatic cancer

A man has an alcoholic drink.

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study indicates that smoking and drinking can affect the risk of getting pancreatic cancer – and that, the more you smoke or drink, the greater the effect. Researcher Michelle Anderson of the University of Michigan Health System saw that in data on 811 pancreatic cancer patients:

``People that drank and smoked cigarettes, or did either alone, would have their pancreatic cancer presented at an earlier age.’’

She says they were diagnosed around age 61 or 62 – about a decade earlier than others.

Dr. Anderson says people who quit smoking and drinking wound up with an age of diagnosis no worse than other nonsmokers and nondrinkers. But it took about 10 years.

The study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: December 27, 2012