Log In
Saturday 22nd October 2016

Pancreas cancer link to animal fats

29th June 2009

Experts have found that cutting down on red meat and dairy products could cut the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.


The US study followed the food diaries of half a million people over an average period of six years.

Those who had the most animal fat in their diet had a higher risk of getting pancreatic cancer, according to the report published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Previous studies have failed to agree on the link between pancreatic cancer and animal fat.

Smoking is still considered to be the biggest single risk factor for the disease, which affects 7,000 people annually in the United Kingdom.

Pancreatic cancer has a poor outlook, with an average time of six months between diagnosis and death.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland started the study because they felt that earlier studies had been too small to give reliable results.

Of the 500,000 participants, who were followed to see which diseases they developed, 1,337 developed pancreatic cancer.

The effects of eating animal fat were greatest among men. Men who ate the highest amount of animal fat had a 53% higher risk of getting the disease than those who consumed the least.

The likelihood of getting pancreatic cancer was 23% greater in women who ate the most animal fats. Overall, people who ate a lot of saturated fat had a 36% higher chance of developing pancreatic cancer.

The research team led by Rachel Stolzenberg-Solomon, said it had observed positive associations between pancreatic cancer and intakes of total, saturated, and monounsaturated fat overall, particularly from red meat and dairy food sources.

Plant fats like olive oil and polyunsaturated fats, as in some margarines, did not appear to be linked to the incidence of pancreatic cancer.

Experts said the study was a welcome addition to the understanding of a disease that was in great need of new insights.

Josephine Querido, senior science information officer for Cancer Research UK, said the best way to reduce the risk of cancer was to eat plenty of fruit vegetables and fibre, to cut down on fatty foods, red and processed meat, while limiting alcohol intake.

Share this page


There are no comments for this article, be the first to comment!

Post your comment

Only registered users can comment. Fill in your e-mail address for quick registration.

Your email address:

Your comment will be checked by a Healthcare Today moderator before it is published on the site.

M3 - For secure managed hosting over N3 or internet
© Mayden Foundation 2016