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Can J Public Health. 2004 Jan-Feb;95(1):32-7.

Environmental tobacco smoke and the risk of pancreatic cancer: findings from a Canadian population-based case-control study.

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Epistream Consulting Inc., Ottawa, ON.



Despite the fact that tobacco is a well-recognized risk factor for pancreatic cancer, no study has yet reported on the association between environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and this malignancy. We investigated the relationship between pancreatic cancer and childhood and adult exposure to ETS using a case-control study design.


Our study population consisted of 583 pancreatic cancer cases and 4,813 population-based controls that were identified within 8 Canadian provinces between 1994 and 1997. Mail-out questionnaires were used to collect risk factor information and a lifetime residential and occupational history of exposure to ETS.


Among never smokers, those who were exposed to ETS both as a child and as an adult had an odds ratio of 1.21 (95% CI=0.60-2.44) relative to those with no exposure. For active smoking, when the referent group consisted of never smokers who had not been regularly exposed to ETS, the risk increases were more pronounced with an increased number of years of smoking, cigarette pack-years, years since quit smoking, and average number of cigarettes smoked daily.


Overall, our results are suggestive of a weak association between pancreatic cancer and ETS. Perhaps more importantly, they suggest that ETS smoking exposures may confound the risk of pancreatic cancer associated with active smoking measures commonly used in epidemiologic studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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