In the USA, pancreatic cancer poses the third-highest cause of mortality due to cancer. This study aims at facilitating strategies for early diagnosis. In particular, the study focuses on the association of risk of pancreatic cancer with the duration of diabetes and abnormal weight loss.

The researchers conducted a cohort study with 46,207 men and 112,818 women recently diagnosed with diabetes and weight loss. The participants were selected from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. The study analyzed cancer incidence in participants with and without diabetes and those with and without weight loss.

The patients with a weight loss of more than 8 pounds had 1.92 HR (hazard ratio) for cancer, and those with between 1 and 4 pounds had 1.25 HR and 1.33 HR for participants with between 5 and 8 pounds weight loss. Those with recent diabetes onset with weight loss between 1 and 8 pounds had 3.61 HR, and those with more than 8 pounds had 6.75 HR.

The study proved that those with recent diabetes onset and substantial weight loss have a higher chance of pancreatic cancer risk. This group is considered to be the main benefiter of any early detection strategy. Other factors like previous weight, older age, and the cause of weight loss (not intentional weight loss) increased the risk factor.