Scientists have warned that obesity and lack of exercise may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Studies have earlier indicated that smoking is responsible for about 25 percent of pancreatic cancer cases. But researchers of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston examined 144 pancreatic cancer patients and 429 people without the disease, and found that obesity and lack of exercise may account for a similar percentage of cancer patients.
Pancreas, the gland under the curvature of the stomach, produces enzymes that are useful for digestion and secretes hormones that help maintain and regulate body sugar levels.
The study suggests that a blood protein linked to these lifestyle factors may be an indicator for an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
“The prognosis for many patients with pancreatic cancer remains poor, so it is vitally important that we identify and better understand risk factors for the disease, particularly risk factors that are modifiable,” said lead study author Brian M. Wolpin.
“In addition to cigarette smoking, exercise and weight control appear to be important modifiable risk factors for this difficult disease,” Wolpin said.
“We still have much to learn about the mechanisms by which obesity and sedentary lifestyle may contribute to the risk of pancreatic cancer,” he pointed out.