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Onset of pancreatic cancer could come earlier for smokers and drinkers

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

Onset of pancreatic cancer could come earlier for smokers and drinkers

The average age for an individual to receive a pancreatic cancer diagnosis - potentially through a cancer screening blood test - is 72 years old. Unless a person smokes or drinks heavily, in which case the average age is closer to 60 years old, according to a study appearing in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

"If you do have these habits, and you're going to develop pancreatic cancer, the age of presentation may be younger," said Michelle Anderson of the University of Michigan Health System, quoted by Reuters.

Anderson and other researchers arrived at this conclusion after surveying data of more than 800 pancreatic cancer patients.

Reuters notes that this study doesn't necessarily prove that alcohol and tobacco use causes pancreatic cancer, only that there is a correlation between substance use and an earlier age of onset for these tumors, which in some cases could be detected through a blood test.

The National Cancer Institute states that almost 44,000 new instances of pancreatic cancer, and almost 38,000 deaths due to the disease, are reported each year in the U.S.

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