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Cigarette smoking may boost pancreatic cancer risk - study

Exposure to cigarette smoke may boost risk of pancreatic cancer, a study published in the June 2010 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention suggests.

The study showed current smokers and former smokers were 82 percent and 34 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer respectively, compared to never cigarette smokers.

Mirjam M. Heinen at Maastricht University Medical Centre and colleagues examined the effect of active cigarette smoking, smoking cessation and passive smoking on the risk of pancreatic cancer in 120,852 men and women who completed a baseline questionnaire in 1986.

During the 16.3 years of follow-up, 520 cases of pancreatic cancer were identified.

The researchers found each increment of 10 years of smoking was associated with 15 percent increased pancreatic cancer and each increment of 10 cigarettes per day was linked to 8 percent increased risk.

Quiting smoking was linked with gradually reduced pancreatic cancer risk and no risk was associated with former smoking after 20 or more years of quiting.

Exposure to passive smoking was not correlated with pancreatic cancer risk in women while the impact was unknown in men because no sufficient data were available for an analysis.

Heinen et al concluded "Overall, our findings confirmed that cigarette smoking is an important risk factor for pancreatic cancer, whereas quitting smoking reduced risk. No association was observed between passive smoking exposure and pancreatic cancer risk in women."

Jimmy Downs