Being overweight is not healthy for several reasons. A new study by the American Cancer Society says that being overweight could increase the risk of death from pancreatic cancer. In the findings, it was observed that a higher Body Mass Index was linked with increased risk of dying of pancreatic cancer and that this increase in risk was largest for BMI assessed at earlier ages. The researchers suggested that in order to prevent pancreatic cancer, children and younger adults would have to prevent excess weight gain. According to the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database of the US, pancreatic cancer is an extremely deadly type of cancer, with a five-year survival rate of just 8.5 per cent. In March this year, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar died after battling with pancreatic cancer for several months.

Common risk factors of pancreatic cancer:

Tobacco and alcohol: There is a link between smoking and drinking in excess and the risk of developing pancreatic cancer at an early age according to the University of Michigan Health System. The study stated that the diagnosis of cancer in heavy smokers (those who smoke more than a pack a day) and heavy drinkers (about three average drinks a day) happens at 62 years and 61 years respectively, which is about 10 years earlier than the average age of 72. According to the American Journal of Gastroenterology, tobacco and alcohol cause oxidative damage to the pancreas. Giving up smoking and drinking could significantly bring down the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Diabetes: One of the many health complications that are caused by diabetes is pancreatic cancer. A study by the University of Melbourne said that the risk of pancreatic cancer was high after the diagnosis of diabetes.

Diet: Like many other types of cancer, an unhealthy diet has been linked to pancreatic cancer as well. The risk is particularly higher when there is excess consumption of fast food, processed food, red meat etc. A healthy diet comprising fruits and vegetables can help prevent pancreatic cancer.

Genes: Genetic factors could also be responsible for pancreatic cancer. Certain mutations in the genes could be inherited which could be responsible for pancreatic cancer.

Exposure to carcinogenic chemicals: There certain chemicals, including some types of paints and dyes that could lead to an increase in the risk of pancreatic cancer.