Monday, 11 July 2011

Cured meats not responsible for pancreatic cancer

There are no clear signs that eating cured meats like ham, bacon or hot dogs could increase the odds of getting pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is highly lethal and nearly 95 percent of patients die within five years. Research is focused on possible triggers and risk factors to prevent the development of the cancer. Previous research has suggested that the consumption of cured meat may have a possible link to pancreatic cancer risk because the preservatives used for curing, nitrate and nitrite, cause tumours in lab animals. Prevention is really the best way to save a life. Lighting up, eating lots of sugar, and being obese have all been tied to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer.

To probe the role of curing chemicals, researchers from the National Cancer Institute used a 124-item food questionnaire to test how much nitrate and nitrite people got from their diet. Of the more than 300,000 people who filled out the questionnaire, just over 1,000 - about a third of one percent - developed pancreatic cancer over the next 10 years. Men who ate the most of the preservatives did appear to have a slightly higher chance of getting the disease, but that increase was so small it might as well have been due to chance. There was no hint of a higher risk among women.

The above findings add to a growing body of evidence that has failed to link pancreatic cancer to certain foods or nutrients, such as dietary fibre and vitamin D.

Regardless of whether cured meats are linked to pancreatic cancer, experts say the study doesn't mean people shouldn't strive to eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and low in fatty foods such as cured meats. There are a number of good reasons to practice improved dietary habits - not just for cancer prevention.

By and large, the best we can do to prevent pancreatic and other cancers, is to encourage people to avoid smoking, to avoid obesity, and to practice improved dietary habits, the researchers concluded.

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