Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pancreatic Cancer Affects Blacks At Higher Rates

Date:
September 7, 2009
Source:
American Association for Cancer Research
Summary:
Regardless of risk factors linked to pancreatic cancer, such as smoking and body mass index, African Americans experience higher rates of pancreatic cancer death than whites, a new study finds.

Regardless of risk factors linked to pancreatic cancer, such as smoking and body mass index (BMI), blacks experienced higher rates of pancreatic cancer death than whites.

"Reducing overweight/obesity and smoking will help reduce pancreatic cancer overall, as well as prevent other diseases," said Lauren D. Arnold, Ph.D., M.P.H., postdoctoral research associate in the department of surgery at Washington University in St. Louis.

"We still have a long way to go towards understanding pancreatic cancer disparities."

Results of this cohort study are published online in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Pancreatic cancer is a rapidly fatal disease that is challenging for researchers to study and treat. Because there are no good screening tests and symptoms do not often appear until the disease has spread, Arnold said that most people die within two years of diagnosis.

Statistically, pancreatic cancer claims the lives of black Americans more so than whites — between 2001 and 2005, blacks had a 32 percent higher death rate, according to background information in the study obtained from the National Cancer Institute statistics.

Arnold and colleagues examined risk factors for pancreatic cancer and separately evaluated them among black and white participants. Using data from the Cancer Prevention Study II (CPS-II), they assessed whether these risk factor patterns explained differences in incidence and mortality. CPS-II is a longitudinal study that originally enrolled more than one million participants in 1982. Participants provided information such as race/ethnicity, medical history and health habits. The researchers tracked cancer deaths in the CPS-II and evaluated the outcomes.

Regardless of gender and race, findings showed that smoking was the biggest risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Increasing risk of pancreatic cancer was associated with increasing BMI. When considered by race, blacks had a 42 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer death compared to whites.

Excess risk of disease remained, even when the researchers eliminated all other risk factors from the calculation.

"We hoped to find that by accounting for known and suspected pancreatic cancer risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes and BMI, and by looking at this in the context of race and gender, we'd be able to explain the higher rates of pancreatic cancer in blacks," Arnold said. "Unfortunately, we were unable to explain these differences."

Maria Elena Martinez, Ph.D., M.P.H., said although differences in risk factor patterns were shown, overall, they did not account for the pancreatic cancer mortality rates evident by race. Martinez is the Richard H. Hollen Professor of Cancer Prevention at the University of Arizona, director of the Cancer Health Disparities Institute at the Arizona Cancer Center, and an editorial board member for Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

"The results most certainly point to the need for additional work to explain these racial disparities in risk of pancreatic cancer," she said. "Factors other than those assessed by the researchers may be responsible for the disparities. These can include unidentified lifestyle and/or environmental factors, genetic factors or unique gene-environment interactions."

What makes this study different from previous studies that explored differences in relationship to risk for pancreatic cancer is that this study comes from a large group of cancer-free individuals and examines their risk of developing pancreatic cancer over a long period of time.

Arnold noted one limitation with this study is that higher death rates from an illness in certain populations may be the result of limited or no access to health care. However, past studies have shown that problems with access to health care might not be causing the higher pancreatic cancer death rates in blacks; blacks and whites are both usually diagnosed in relatively late stages of disease, which makes treatment difficult and survival low.

"Our data do not explain what is causing these disparities, but we hope it encourages researchers to continue looking for reasons why blacks develop and die from pancreatic cancer at higher rates than whites," Arnold said. "Clinicians who have patients with a family history of pancreatic cancer or other risk factors for the disease should communicate the benefits of losing weight and quitting smoking, if anything, to help reduce their risk of pancreatic cancer."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Association for Cancer Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Association for Cancer Research. "Pancreatic Cancer Affects Blacks At Higher Rates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090901132800.htm>.
American Association for Cancer Research. (2009, September 7). Pancreatic Cancer Affects Blacks At Higher Rates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090901132800.htm
American Association for Cancer Research. "Pancreatic Cancer Affects Blacks At Higher Rates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090901132800.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins