Meat and pancreatic cancer: what is the link?

Eating large amounts of processed meats like hot dogs, sausages and cold cuts appears linked to a greater risk of &to=http:// ' target=_blank>pancreatic cancer, new research suggests.

A diet full of red meat or pork may also heighten the risk, the study found.

The cancer-causing effect seems to be related not to the fat or cholesterol content of the meat, but to the way it is prepared, said the study authors, who presented their findings Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Anaheim, Calif. The study is the largest of its kind to demonstrate such a link, reports the Forbes.

According to Reuters, the results hint that carcinogenic substances used in &to=http:// ' target=_blank>meat processing rather than the fat or cholesterol content might be responsible for the association, Dr. Ute Nothlings told Reuters Health at the annual gathering of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Nothlings, from the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii in Honolulu, and colleagues examined the relationship between diet and pancreatic cancer in 190,545 men and women who included African Americans, Japanese Americans, Caucasians, Latinos and Native Hawaiians. During an average follow up of 7 years, 482 subjects developed pancreatic cancer.

After taking into account age, smoking status, history of diabetes, family history of pancreatic cancer and ethnicity, subjects with the highest intake of processed meat had a 67 percent increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer compared to those with the lowest intake of processed meat.

A high intake of pork and total red meat increased the risk of pancreatic cancer by about 50 percent.

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