Washington: A new study has shown that obese adults live on average two to three months less after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, compared with healthy weight patients, even after adjusting for factors that are known to predict survival for patients with this disease, such as age and disease stage.
This association was statistically strongest for people who were overweight two decades before their diagnosis.
Senior study author Brian M. Wolpin, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston, said that this study adds to mounting evidence for the role of weight control in improving outcomes for patients with cancer. It also reinforces the importance of maintaining a healthy weight throughout your life, which may lead to better outcomes after diagnosis and help prevent pancreatic cancer from developing.
Researchers evaluated the association between patients' BMI in 1986 and survival after diagnosis of pancreatic cancer among participants from two large prospective cohort studies. Participants of those studies were surveyed on medical history, health behaviours, and lifestyle choices.
The present study, which assessed 902 cases of pancreatic adenocarcinoma that were diagnosed during a 24-year period, found that overall the median length of survival after diagnosis for those patients was five months.
According to Wolpin, on average, healthy weight patients (BMI less than 25 kg per m2) lived 2 to 3 months longer than obese patients (BMI greater than or equal to 35 kg per m2).
The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
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