If you’re obese, you have yet another health hazard to worry about: pancreatic cancer, especially if your body mass index exceeds 35.
Thirty and over is considered obese, and people with a BMI of over 35 have a greater risk of having a malignancy that has spread to the lymph nodes, plus a lower rate of survival, and a higher rate of recurrence after surgery for pancreatic cancer.
A study involved 285 pancreatic cancer patients who underwent surgery involving the pancreas, to treat their disease, between 1999 and 2006. Data was collected regarding the surgery, BMIs and outcomes.
The study was conducted by The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.
The study authors note: “In many obesity-related diseases and malignant neoplasms [cancerous tumors], an increased prevalence of pancreatic cancer has been reported in numerous epidemiologic and cohort studies focusing on obese patients.
Further, obesity has been associated with decreased survival in patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma, although the mechanism remains unknown.”
Seventy-five percent of the patients, who had a BMI of over 35, ended up dying, as of the time of the last follow-up, compared to 52 percent of the patients who had a BMI of 35 or less.
The researchers discovered a subset of obese study participants (BMI over 35), who had a 12-fold risk of pancreatic cancer metastasis into the lymph nodes, compared to patients with a BMI of 35 or less.
The heavier patients had lower estimated survival rates and disease-free rates. In the obese patients with a BMI of over 35, 95 percent had recurrence of their pancreatic cancer.
In the patients with a body mass index of 35 or lower, 61 percent had a recurrence.
This is not the only study to show an association between obesity and pancreatic cancer outcomes. Previous studies have shown similar results.
Thus far, the dynamics behind this association have not been discovered, and more research is needed, with the idea of seeking out systemic or tumor biomarkers in people with BMIs over 35, that can yield more insight into this mechanism.
If you’re struggling with obesity, then make exercise a priority. If you’re already exercising, then make sure it includes cardio and strength training. Don’t just do cardio.
Many plus-size women avoid lifting weights because they think this will make them bigger. Wrong.
Lifting weights will force the body to burn fat for sustenance of new lean tissue gained from the exercise. You will drop dress sizes and along the way, lower your risk of pancreatic cancer by becoming less obese.