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article imageSoft drinks can increase risk for pancreatic cancer

By Carol Forsloff     Feb 9, 2010 in Health
Those who consume two or more soft drinks per week are increasing their risks of pancreatic cancer, according to a report issued by Cancer Epidemiology: Biomarkers & Prevention. The new study joins other research looking at cancer risk factors.
Pancreatic cancer has a very high death rate with only 5 percent of patients diagnosed with the disease still alive five years after diagnosis.
The team, led by Mark Pereira, Ph. D, associate professor in the school of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, found sugar-sweetened beverages put people at risk because of the high levels of sugar found in the soft drinks. What has also been found and reported in the Journal is those who consume a high level of carbonated beverages have a poor behavioral profile overall.
Around 60,524 men and women were followed to develop the conclusions. One-hundred and forty pancreatic cancer cases were found in the 14 years the group of subjects, primarily from Singapore, were associated. Scientists say the study is applicable as well to the United States. Periera explained:
“Singapore is a wealthy country with excellent health care. Favorite pastimes are eating and shopping, so the findings should apply to other western countries."
Despite the dramatic findings of this study, some scientists exercise caution in finding the results applicable to Americans or other groups. Susan Mayne, Ph.D., associate director of the Yale Cancer Center and professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, points out the results of the study are certainly interesting but must be examined in terms of its limitations. She believes the number of cases were not large enough to provide sufficient evidence for the conclusions reached by the study.
Furthermore she observes soft drink consumption is also associated with eating and drinking foods also considered to be suspects in the development of cancer, like smoking and meat intake. Nevertheless Pereira declares the results biologically plausible because the conclusions held up in non-smokers and remained similar when other dietary habits were taken into account.
Pancreatic cancer, according to Medline, has the following symptoms, some of which may not occur until the tumor has reached the point where it is inoperable. It has figured prominently in the news this year with the death of Patrick Swayze.
* Pain or discomfort in the upper part of the belly or abdomen
* Loss of appetite and weight loss
* Jaundice (a yellow color in the skin, mucus membranes, or the eyes)
* Dark urine and clay-colored stools
* Fatigue and weakness
* Nausea and vomiting
Other possible symptoms are:
* Back pain
* Blood clots
* Depression
* Diarrhea
* Difficulty sleeping
* Indigestion
While this study points out the risks associated with soft drink consumption, in 2003 a medical study revealed too much aspirin was also indicated as a risk factor in developing pancreatic cancer.
As soft drinks continue to be highlighted by the present study, experts indicate additional research may be needed for the litany of risk factors for pancreatic cancer to be firmly established.
More about Soft drinks, Pop, Soda, Health, Pancreatic cancer
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