Medical News: Bacon, Sausage Linked to Pancreatic Cancer
Processed meats such as sausage, bacon, and cold cuts may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, but only slightly, researchers found.
For every 50-gram serving of processed meat per day — a couple of slices of ham, for instance — relative risk of the disease rose by 19%, Susanna Larsson, PhD, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and colleagues reported online in the British Journal of Cancer.
Red meat also posed a 29% greater relative risk of pancreatic cancer to men, they found.
“Relative” may be a key word, here, however, since the risk of pancreatic cancer itself is low. Action Points
Marji McCullough, ScD, RD, director of nutritional epidemiology for the American Cancer Society, who wasn’t involved in the study, emphasized that the overall risks appear to be “modest,” although they are “consistent with associations with red and processed meats seen with other other gastrointestinal cancers.”
Several studies have shown a link between meat and stomach and colorectal cancers, but it’s been unclear as to whether meat also affects pancreatic cancer risk.
So Larsson and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 11 studies totaling more than two million patients, 6,643 of whom had pancreatic cancer.
They found that eating at least 120 grams per day of red meat — determined to be a “standard” serving — was associated with a 13% increased relative risk of the disease, but it wasn’t significant, and there was major heterogeneity between studies (P