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Smoking, Alcohol Linked to Earlier Cancer Diagnosis

-- A. Agrawal, PhD

Thursday, September 17, 2009

THURSDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with pancreatic cancer who smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol are diagnosed at a younger age than patients who do not smoke or drink, according to a study in the September issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Randall E. Brand, M.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues analyzed data on cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption in 29,239 confirmed cases of pancreatic cancer and a separate group of 820 cases of confirmed pancreatic cancer.

The researchers found that while past smoking was only modestly associated with age at diagnosis, current smoking was associated with significantly younger ages at diagnosis (8.3 years earlier in the larger group, 6.3 years in the smaller group) compared with patients who had never smoked. Past and current alcohol consumption was also associated with a younger age at diagnosis in both groups. Patients who currently smoked and consumed alcohol were diagnosed at even younger ages (10.2 years earlier in the larger group, 8.6 years in the smaller group) compared with patients who had never smoked or drank.

"Cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption were associated with younger age at pancreatic cancer presentation and have a combined effect on diagnosis age," Brand and colleagues conclude. "Smoking cessation programs could help prevent pancreatic cancer."

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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