|CANCER & TREATMENTS FOR CANCER CENTER PATIENTS PREVENTION & RISK ASSESSMENT CLINICAL TRIALS & RESEARCH LIVING WITH CANCER|
Smoking and Heavy Drinking Linked to Earlier Onset of Pancreatic CancerPeople who smoke and drink heavily may develop pancreatic cancer at an earlier age than those who don't, according to a study led by a University of Michigan Health System gastroenterologist.
The average age at which pancreatic cancer is found is 72, according to the American Cancer Society.
In the study, heavy smokers with pancreatic cancer were diagnosed around age 62 and heavy drinkers at age 61 -- more than a decade earlier.
Smoking is a strong risk factor for pancreatic cancer, and alcohol has been shown to cause oxidative damage to the pancreas, which sets the stage for the inflammatory pathways that can lead to cancer.
The study of 811 pancreatic cancer patients from the multicenter, international database Pancreatic Cancer Collaborative Registry does not prove smoking and drinking habits caused cancer.
The study does make a step toward understanding at what age screening for pancreatic cancer should begin -- once widespread screening is available.
"As screening programs are developed, an understanding of how personal features influence the age of presentation will be important to optimize the timing of those screenings," says lead study author and gastroenterologist Michelle Anderson, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Health System.
Detecting pancreatic cancer early is difficult and contributes to the poor survival rates. By the time pancreatic cancer is diagnosed, it is frequently at an advanced stage and has spread to other organs.
The good news is that the harmful effects of heavy drinking and smoking can be reversed. After 10 years, former smokers and drinkers who quit their habits faced no extra risk of earlier diagnosis.
Read the complete press release: Smoking, heavy drinking linked to earlier onset of pancreatic cancer.
U-M Research Group to Study how Patients and Doctors Make Breast Cancer Treatment DecisionsAs more breast cancers are diagnosed at an earlier stage, patients and doctors are faced with a growing challenge: how to effectively treat the cancer without over-treating the patient and causing unnecessary side effects and quality of life problems.
A national team of researchers centered at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center will examine how patients make treatment decisions, how doctors make treatment recommendations and how to improve the process for better outcomes.
"Many women diagnosed with breast cancer have a favorable prognosis, and these women are particularly vulnerable to harm if treatment is too aggressive. We can't optimally improve women's health unless we address the challenges of individualizing cancer treatments,” says Steven J. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., the co-director of the socio-behavioral program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center and principal investigator of the new study.
"This program is about helping patients and their doctors avoid doing more harm than good on the journey from treatment to recovery from a diagnosis of breast cancer," he says.
The number of women diagnosed with the earliest stages of breast cancer has nearly tripled in the last 20 years. These early diagnoses tend to have good prognoses, with up to 95 percent of women surviving.
But these women face complicated decisions about how aggressively to treat the disease. The right answers can vary based on each patient's specific tumor, family history or lifestyle.
Researchers will survey patients and doctors about the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), testing for certain gene mutations, and the use of a 21-gene analysis that can help determine the benefit of chemotherapy. The researchers will also develop an online decision tool to help improve the quality of patients' decision-making.
Read the complete press release: Improving cancer treatment through better decisions.
Print this page
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
© 2013 Regents of the University of Michigan / Developed & maintained by: Public Relations & Marketing Communications. Contact Us or UMHS. The information presented is not a tool for self diagnosis or a substitute for professional care.