Processed Meats Boost Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Carcinogens created during preparation may be to blame, experts say

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WEDNESDAY, Oct. 5, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Eating lots of processed meats, red meat and pork can increase pancreatic cancer risk, according to a U.S. study in the current issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The study of more than 190,000 people found that those with the highest intake of processed meats were at a 68 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer compared to those with ate the least amount of processed meats. People who ate the most red meat and pork were 50 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer compared to those who at the least amount of those meats.

There was no association between pancreatic cancer risk and intakes of saturated fat, cholesterol, total fat, eggs, dairy products, fish or poultry, the study found.

The authors, from the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, suggest that carcinogenic substances resulting from meat preparation techniques may be responsible for the increased risk among people who eat large amounts of these foods.

Some previous research has identified meat, dairy products and eggs as potential risk factors for pancreatic cancer, but the results have been mixed.

About 32,000 Americans were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year. Because it is so often detected at a very late stage, the five-year survival rate for this malignancy is less than 5 percent.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about pancreatic cancer.

SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, news release, Oct. 4, 2005

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