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Greater cancer risk for obese women

Obese women whose weight goes to their stomachs are 70% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than those who carry it elsewhere, according to a study.

Researchers went to the United States to study more than 138,000 postmenopausal women over a seven-year period to investigate the effects of obesity on pancreatic cancer.

Of those examined, 251 developed pancreatic cancer. Of these, 78 women had the highest waist-to-hip ratios, compared with the 34 women with the lowest waist-to-hip ratios who went on to develop the disease.

Lead author Dr Juhua Luo, based at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said: "We found that the risk of developing pancreatic cancer was significantly raised in obese postmenopausal women who carry most of their excess weight around the stomach. Obesity is a growing and largely preventable problem, so it's important that women are aware of this major increase in risk."

Pancreatic cancer is the UK's sixth most common cause of cancer death, with about 7,000 deaths from the disease each year.

Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said: "Pancreatic cancer is associated with particularly poor survival, so it's crucial that we learn more about how to prevent the disease."

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