Tests conducted in the US have discovered that people who smoke and drink heavily could develop pancreatic cancer much earlier than those who lead a more salubrious lifestyle.
According to the University of Michigan Health System report, patients who smoke regularly were told they had the condition when they were just 61 - whereas the average age of diagnosis was 72.
The study of 811 patients - published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology - did not confirm that these bad habits directly caused cancer of the pancreas, but it is widely accepted that people with these vices are more likely to develop the disease earlier in their life.
A major campaign backed by Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation - dubbed Stoptober - has been launched in the UK and is aimed at helping people to quit smoking.
Pancreatic cancer is still very difficult to detect and this means that survival rates are poor.
Encouragingly, the US researchers also found that once smokers and drinkers have been clean for ten years, they face no extra risk of early diagnosis.
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