Pancreatic Cancer found to have a link with processed meats

A study has recently claimed that a person’s risk of pancreatic cancer can be significantly increased if they eat bacon.

The study has shown that a person who eats two rashers of bacon a day can have an increased chance of pancreatic cancer by nearly 20 percent. The study also showed that eating processed meat can increase the chance of cancer rather than if you did not eat processed meat in any way.

For those who are eating twice this amount, it is estimated that there risk will increase to nearly 40 percent and for those eating three times their risk will increase by around 60 percent. Despite these figures however, the chances of actually developing pancreatic cancer in the first place is very low, only about one in 80 people will develop the disease.

That said, those who are diagnosed with the disease face an unfortunate prognosis. The disease is often diagnosed in a late stage and 80 percent of those who are diagnosed will die within the year. Five years after diagnosis only five percent of patients survive.

Published in the British Journal of Cancer, the research has come out of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. The research was done by examining nearly 7000 different cases of pancreatic cancer, across 11 different studies. They also tried to draw a conclusion about the increased risks of eating red meat but were unable to arrive at anything concrete.

They did find that there was a small increase in risk for men eating a large amount of red meat every day but there seemed to be no increased risk among women. The study concluded, “We can conclude that there is an association between the risk of pancreatic cancer and the consumption of processed meat. To find out whether there is a correlation between pancreatic cancer and red meat, further studies need to be conducted.”

The study was commissioned in order to determine risk factors for pancreatic cancer. It is currently thought that smoking is the greatest course of the disease, with around one third of all cases being associated with smoking.

Professor Susanna Larsson was the author of the study and she has commented, “The survival rate for pancreatic cancer is a low and so it is important that people understand the risk factors associated with the disease. It is also important that diagnosis is made as early as possible. We are hoping that this link between diet and the disease will mean that public health campaigns can increase people’s awareness of the risks of certain types of food.”

In the UK during 2008 around 8000 people were diagnosed with, and died from, pancreatic cancer. This means it is responsible for around three percent of all cases of cancer in the UK.

The information director of Cancer Research UK is Sara Hiom and she has commented, “A larger scale study is needed to confirm these findings before the link between pancreatic cancer and processed meat can be confirmed. What this new study does show is that there is a definite likelihood that processed meat does increase a person’s risk of developing the disease.”

Pancreatic Cancer UK is headed by Alex Ford who has commented, “We are always pleased to see increasing amounts of research about the disease. It is important we understand how we can adjust our lifestyles and diets so we can reduce risk of developing this cancer. Once further research has been conducted, we will be able to confidently say what people should, and should not, involve in their diets in order to better reduce their risk of developing pancreatic cancer”.