Study: Drinking and smoking linked to early pancreatic cancer - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Study: Drinking and smoking linked to early pancreatic cancer

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(AP Photo) (AP Photo)

FOX - Heavy smokers and drinkers may face pancreatic cancer earlier in life.

A new study out of the University of Michigan finds the diagnoses can come almost a decade sooner than those without those habits.

The American Cancer Society says the average age at which patients are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is 72, but the study of more than 800 pancreatic cancer patients found that heavy smokers were diagnosed at about age 62.  For heavy drinkers, the average age was 61.

In the study, heavy smokers were defined as those who smoked more than one pack of cigarettes a day.

Heavy drinkers were those who averaged three drinks per day.

The study also found that beer drinkers were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at an earlier age than those who drank other types of alcohol, such as wine or liquor.  But when the researchers took the amount of alcohol consumed into account, the type of alcohol did not affect the age at diagnosis.

The study had some good news too.  It found the harmful effects of heavy smoking and drinking can be reversed.

Ten years after giving up unhealthy habits, former smokers and drinkers did not have an increased risk of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at an earlier age.

The study was published online in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

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