Obesity during early adulthood raises the chances that a person will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, according to a study released Tuesday.
"This is the first study to explore at which ages excess body weight predisposes an individual to pancreatic cancer," said Donghui Li, professor of medicine at the University of Texas Anderson Department.
"With our epidemiological research, we aimed to demonstrate the relationship between BMI (body mass index) and risk of pancreatic cancer across a patient's life span and determine if there was a time period that specifically predisposes an individual to the disease," he added.
Li said the study also examined the link between BMI, which is calculated according to a person's weight and height, cancer occurrence and the chances of survival among patients.
The researchers found that obese youths between the age of 14 and 19 years old had a 60 percent higher chance of developing pancreatic cancer than their less overweight peers.
Obese individuals between the age of 20 and 40 were two to three times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, but the risk levelled off for those who gained the weight in their 40s and was statistically insignificant for those 50 and above.
The study also found that obese or overweight individuals were more likely to develop pancreatic cancer earlier on their lives.