Pancreatic Cancer
Red Meat Associated With Pancreatic Cancer Risk
Oct 5, 2005 - 4:38:38 AM

High consumption of red and processed meats--but not fat or cholesterol--is associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a new study.

Nearly 32,000 Americans were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, and most of them will die from the disease. The 5-year survival rate is less than 5%. Identification of risk factors for the disease has become a part of prevention efforts. Some dietary studies have identified meat, dairy product, and egg consumption as potential risk factors, but the results have been mixed.

To investigate associations between intake of meat, other animal products, fat, and cholesterol and pancreatic cancer risk, Ute Nöthlings, Dr.P.H., of the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii in Honolulu, and colleagues analyzed data from the prospective Multiethnic Cohort Study. During 7 years of follow-up, 482 cases of pancreatic cancer were diagnosed among the more than 190,000 participants.

Participants in the highest quintile of processed meat intake had a 68% increased risk of pancreatic cancer compared with those in the lowest quintile. The yearly incidence rate of pancreatic cancer was 41.3 cases per 100,000 people in the highest quintile compared with 20.2 cases per 100,000 in the lowest quintile. Intakes of pork and red meat were both associated with 50% increased risks of pancreatic cancer when comparing the highest and lowest quintiles. The authors found no associations between intakes of poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs, total fat, saturated fat, or cholesterol and pancreatic cancer risk. They suggest that because fat is not likely to contribute to the mechanism underlying the findings for meat consumption, carcinogenic substances resulting from meat preparation techniques might be responsible for the increase in pancreatic cancer risk.

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