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Briefs: Smoking, drinking may aid onset of pancreatic cancer

CURTAILING PANCREATIC cancer

Smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol apparently speed the onset of pancreatic cancer. A new international study shows that while the average age for the onset of that lethal disease is in the 70- to 80-year range, smokers and drinkers show its onset as early as their 50s. And the more tobacco and alcohol consumed, the earlier the onset. Those who had more than three drinks a day showed the symptoms 10 years sooner than those who did not drink. The pancreatic-cancer survival rate is only about five years.

Some vitamins' benefits disputed

An analysis of 67 studies concludes that taking dietary supplements not only did not cut death rates but in some cases could actually have increased them. The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research, analyzed studies in which about 200,000 people had participated. The summary "found no evidence to support antioxidant supplements for primary or secondary prevention" of death. Taking vitamins A, E and beta carotene "may increase mortality," the study also found. The research team urged that future studies involving those and other antioxidants "be closely monitored for potential harmful effects."

By the numbers

64.8 Percent of boomers (ages 43 to 62) who say they are annoyed when their spouse cannot hear them.

56.8 Percent who think their spouse is reluctant to get his or her hearing checked.

45.3 Percent who think their spouse does not hear them ask that chores be done.

77.5 Percent who say their spouse can hear them fix a snack.

23.4 Percent who say their spouse has never had his or her hearing checked.

Family may play role in shingles

Researchers have identified family history as one reason why some people might be more susceptible to shingles, or herpes zoster, a burning, painful skin rash that can last years. Nearly 1-million shingles cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. The more relatives who have experienced shingles, the higher your risk, according to the University of Texas Medical School. Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, and people must have had chickenpox to get shingles. But people are less likely to get shingles if they have had the chickenpox vaccine. The vaccine has been approved for people 60 and older and is being studied in those as young as 50.

Compiled from Times staff,

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Briefs: Smoking, drinking may aid onset of pancreatic cancer 05/26/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 2:49pm]

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