I know what you’re thinking…. “What could we possibly be adding to the list of diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity hypertension, stroke, colon cancer, chronic renal failure, etc. caused by obesity?” To that, I say bravo for knowing your obesity causing diseases! And unfortunately, it looks as though we will be adding pancreatic cancer to the now very long list, according to a recent article in the LA Times:
Pancreatic cancer is now the fourth-leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, and the nation’s growing girth among all age groups could be playing a role.”
Here’s a little crash course on pancreatic cancer for those of us who aren’t familiar with this disease (Mayo Clinic):
Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of your pancreas — a large organ that lies horizontally behind the lower part of your stomach. Your pancreas secretes enzymes that aid digestion and hormones that help regulate the metabolism of sugars.
Pancreatic cancer often has a poor prognosis, even when diagnosed early. Pancreatic cancer typically spreads rapidly and is seldom detected in its early stages, which is a major reason why it’s a leading cause of cancer death. Signs and symptoms may not appear until pancreatic cancer is quite advanced and surgical removal isn’t possible.”
Did you catch the part that talks about how it’s the ‘leading cause of cancer death’? So what were the conclusions of the study referred to by the article in the Times?
A study examined 841 patients with pancreatic cancer and 754 healthy people of similar age, race, and gender. It found that people ages 14 to 39 who-who were overweight (a body mass index of 25 to 29.9) or people ages 20 to 49 who were obese (a BMI of 30 or greater) had an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. In the second age group, being overweight or obese was also linked to an earlier onset of pancreatic cancer by two to six years.”
While we all know that the Body Mass Index (BMI) isn’t the best indicator in the world, it can nonetheless show a correlation between two factors. In this case, the presence of pancreatic cancer and obesity. So if the diseases you mentioned above weren’t enough reason to prevent obesity, maybe the number one killing cancer in the world will do the trick. I guess we’ll see.
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