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Processed Meats Raise Pancreatic Cancer Risk

By Dr. John Roberts

Eating a lot of processed meats such as hot dogs, sausages and luncheon meats may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a study presented on April 19 at the 96th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

In the study, researchers investigated the dietary information and pancreatic cancer death among 190,545 men and women of African-American, Japanese-American, Caucasian, Latino and Native Hawaiian origin. The data were originated from the Multiethnic Cohort Study in Hawaii and Los Angeles, which involved those 190,545 subjects. During a 7-year follow-up, 482 cases of pancreatic cancer were recorded.

It was found that those who consumed the highest amounts of processed meats including all types are 67 percent more likely to acquire pancreatic cancer compared with those who used the lowest amounts. Those who consumed the highest amounts of pork and red meat increased the risk by 50 percent.

There was no association between consumption of poultry, fish, dairy products and eggs with the pancreatic cancer risk. Nor was there a link between the cancer risk and overall intake of total fat, saturated fat or cholesterol.

Previous studies already found that those who heavily consumed red meat and processed meat were 50 percent more likely to get colorectal cancer compared with those who did not use much processed meats.

The researchers suggested that some reactions might generate carcinogens or cancer-causing agents such as heterocyclic amines or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons during the meat processing, which might be responsible for the increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

In the U.S. 32,180 cases of pancreatic cancer are diagnosed each year and 31,800 are expected to die of it. The pancreatic cancer risk is the same for men and women.#

About The Author
John Roberts, Ph.D. is a freelance writer for


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