Blacks With Pancreatic Cancer More Likely To Die

Advertisement

Pancreatic cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the pancreas. It is estimated there will be 42,470 new cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed in the United States and 35,240 deaths from the disease this year.

Deaths from pancreatic cancer occur in most people within two years of diagnosis. Statistically, black Americans are more likely to die of the disease than whites. The National Cancer Institute states data from 2001 to 2005 show that blacks had a 32 per cent higher death rate.

The reason for this is unknown.

Dr Lauren D Arnold and colleagues have published the results of a study looking at possible reasons in the 1 September online issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. They looked at known and suspected risk factors for pancreatic cancer, such as smoking, diabetes, obesity and family history of pancreatic cancer.

Advertisement

The researchers used data from the longitudinal Cancer Prevention Study II (CPS-II), a study which recruited over 1 million participants from 1982 and noted their race/ethnicity, medical history, health habits, deaths and other outcomes.

From 1984 to 2004, there were 6,243 pancreatic cancer-related deaths. Blacks had an age-adjusted relative risk of 1.42 for pancreatic cancer mortality compared with whites.

The risk of death associated with smoking was 80% in white men vs. 56% in black men. The risk of death associated with obesity was 66% in black men vs. 42% in white men.

Dr Arnold and colleagues acknowledge, "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."

Sources
"Are Racial Disparities in Pancreatic Cancer Explained by Smoking and Overweight/Obesity?"; Lauren D. Arnold, Alpa V. Patel, Yan Yan, Eric J. Jacobs, Michael J. Thun, Eugenia E. Calle, and Graham A. Colditz.; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev first published online on September 1, 2009.
DOI:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-09-0080

National Cancer Institute

Advertisement

Comments

One of the main reasons why Blacks suffer greater mortality with cancer than do whites is that the darker the skin color the harder it is for the skin to make vitamin D. The melanin in the skin blocks UVB from reaching the cholesterol in the skin to convert that cholesterol to vitamin D. It follows that blacks generally speaking have lower vitamin D status and people with lower vitamin D status generally have a worse prognosis for most cancers. This is why people diagnosed and treated for cancer at the end of summer generally speaking have a better prognosis than those diagnosed/treated for those same cancers at the end of winter. Similarly women with breast cancer who maintain a high 25(OH)D have a lower chance of Metastasis than those with low vitamin D status. Grassrootshealth D Acition offer 25(OH)D postal testing at cost price (40) as part of a trial and anyone wishing to lower their personal chance of getting cancer needs to be aware that levels above 55ng/mL are associated with least cancer incidence. Those who have a cancer diagnosis to deal with at the moment should be aware that the natural level human bodies attain and maintain given full body sun exposure are in the range of 60~80ng/ml and there is good reason to believe these levels produce the best outcomes for cancer survival. Generally speaking around 1000iu/daily/D3 is required to achieve a rise of 10ng/mL so to get around 55ng/ml will require around 5000~6000iu/d and 60~80ng/mL more like 6000iu~8000iu/d However Vieth has shown up to 10,000iu/daily is safe even in the context of ample sun sun exposure.