Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 11, Issue 7, pp 645–652 | Cite as

A prospective study of lifestyle factors and the risk of pancreatic cancer in Nord-Trøndelag, Norway

  • Tom I. Lund Nilsen
  • Lars J. Vatten


Objectives: Cancer of the pancreas is highly fatal and, despite extensive scrutiny, only cigarette smoking stands out as a likely causal agent in epidemiological studies. To explore to what extent different lifestyle factors are associated with the risk of pancreatic cancer, data from a large health screening survey in a county in Norway were analyzed.

Methods: Our study included 31,000 men and 32,374 women initially free from any diagnosed cancer, and during 12 years of follow-up, 166 incident cases of pancreatic cancer were diagnosed at the Cancer Registry.

Results: Compared with never smokers, we found a two-fold increased risk among current smokers, and a dose–response association with number of cigarettes (p for trend = 0.02 for both men and women) and with number of pack-years (p for trend = 0.02 for men and 0.01 for women). The risk among former smokers quitting more than 5 years before study entry was close to the risk of never smokers. Compared with persons who reported never or infrequently to be physically worn out after a day's work, the relative risk (RR) among those who nearly always became worn out was 2.9 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.4–5.8) for men and 3.8 (95% CI = 1.6–9.2) for women. Divorced or separated men had a risk of 3.1 (95% CI = 1.3–7.2) compared with married men. We observed a higher risk among women in occupations of high socioeconomic status (RR = 2.5; 95% CI = 1.2–5.2), and among men occupied in farming, agriculture or forestry (RR = 2.1; 95% CI = 1.1–4.0), compared with persons in occupations of low socioeconomic status.

Conclusions: Our results confirm the findings of previous studies that indicate a causal role of cigarette smoking in pancreatic cancer. Moreover, we found that the risk of former smokers may approach the risk of never smokers within a few years subsequent to quitting.

lifestyle pancreatic cancer prospective studies risk smoking 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom I. Lund Nilsen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lars J. Vatten
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Community Medicine and General PracticeNorwegian University of Science and Technology, University Medical CenterTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Norwegian Cancer SocietyOsloNorway

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