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Obesity throughout Life Increases Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Pancreas In Situ Full Body From age 18 to well over 50, the longer a person is obese the more risk increases for pancreatic cancer, especially among those who have diabetes, suggests a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

AICR’s report and its continuous updates show that excess body fat and abdominal fat increase risk for pancreatic cancer. In this study, researchers looked at how overweight and obesity throughout an adult’s life linked to risk.

Researchers analyzed data from about half a million men and women who were 50 to 71 years old when the study began in 1995-96. Slightly over half of the participants answered questions about their current weight, as well as what they weighed at ages 18, 35 and 50.

After tracking the participants for 11 years, 2,122 of the participants were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Compared to those at a healthy BMI, the people categorized as obese at each age group had an increased risk for the cancer. The longer people were overweight, the greater the risk. For every ten years of being overweight, pancreatic cancer risk increased 6 percent compared to those at a healthy BMI. Risk increased more among people who reported having diabetes when the study began.

Research has shown that pancreatic cancer is more common in people who have type 2 diabetes. Both share excess body fat as a risk factor, but it is not known if the cancer increases risk for diabetes or the diabetes increases cancer risk.


Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ, Schairer C, Moore S, Hollenbeck A, Silverman DT. "Lifetime adiposity and risk of pancreatic cancer in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study cohort." Am J Clin Nutrition. 2013 Aug 28. [Epub ahead of print]

Published on September 24, 2013

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