Obesity appears to significantly increase the risk of pancreatic cancer in both sexes,while moderate physical activity seems to reduce the risk even among obese individuals,says Dr. Dominique S. Michaud the head person of the research.
Dr. Michaud from the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland and colleagues collected data from two large cohorts: 36,648 men, 40 to 75 years of age, who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and 97,041 women, 30 to 55 years of age, who participated in the Nurses' Health Study.
During 1,800,837 person-years of follow-up, 140 men and 210 women were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In subjects from both cohorts, body mass index (BMI) was significantly associated with the risk of pancreatic cancer, the researchers report.
"After adjusting for known risk factors, men and women with a BMI of 30 or higher had a 72% increase in risk of pancreatic cancer compared with men and women with a BMI of less than 23," Dr. Michaud's group found. Multivariable analyses revealed that an increment of 1 kg/m was associated with a 5% increased risk of pancreatic cancer among men and a 3% increased risk of pancreatic cancer among women.
There was also an inverse association between moderate physical activity and the risk of pancreatic cancer for individuals in both cohorts. Multivariable pooled analyses indicated that men and women in the highest quintile of moderate physical activity had a significantly reduced risk of pancreatic cancer compared with those in the lowest quintile of moderate physical activity (relative risk 0.45; p < 0.001 for trend).
Pancreatic cancer...could be prevented through behavioral and lifestyle changes," Drs. Gapstur and Gann conclude.