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Cancer Causes Control. 2000 Aug;11(7):645-52.

A prospective study of lifestyle factors and the risk of pancreatic cancer in Nord-Tr√łndelag, Norway.

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Department of Community Medicine and General Practice, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, University Medical Center, Trondheim.



Cancer of the pancreas is highly fatal and, despite extensive scrutiny, only cigarette smoking stands out as a likely causal agent in epidemiological studies. To explore to what extent different lifestyle factors are associated with the risk of pancreatic cancer, data from a large health screening survey in a county in Norway were analyzed.


Our study included 31,000 men and 32,374 women initially free from any diagnosed cancer, and during 12 years of follow-up, 166 incident cases of pancreatic cancer were diagnosed at the Cancer Registry.


Compared with never smokers, we found a two-fold increased risk among current smokers, and a dose-response association with number of cigarettes (p for trend = 0.02 for both men and women) and with number of pack-years (p for trend = 0.02 for men and 0.01 for women). The risk among former smokers quitting more than 5 years before study entry was close to the risk of never smokers. Compared with persons who reported never or infrequently to be physically worn out after a day's work, the relative risk (RR) among those who nearly always became worn out was 2.9 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.4-5.8) for men and 3.8 (95% CI = 1.6-9.2) for women. Divorced or separated men had a risk of 3.1 (95% CI = 1.3-7.2) compared with married men. We observed a higher risk among women in occupations of high socioeconomic status (RR = 2.5; 95% CI = 1.2-5.2), and among men occupied in farming, agriculture or forestry (RR = 2.1; 95% CI = 1.1-4.0), compared with persons in occupations of low socioeconomic status.


Our results confirm the findings of previous studies that indicate a causal role of cigarette smoking in pancreatic cancer. Moreover, we found that the risk of former smokers may approach the risk of never smokers within a few years subsequent to quitting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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