Soft Drinks May Double Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Washington, Feb 8 (IANS) Consuming two or more soft drinks per week doubles the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, says a new study.

Although relatively rare, pancreatic cancer remains one of the most deadly, and only five percent of people who are diagnosed are alive five years later.

People who took soft drinks regularly, defined as carbonated sugar-sweetened beverages, tend to have a poor behavioural profile overall, says Mark Pereira, senior study author and associate professor in public health at the University of Minnesota.

However, the effect of these drinks on pancreatic cancer may be unique. "The high levels of sugar in soft drinks may be increasing the level of insulin in the body, which we think contributes to pancreatic cancer cell growth," says Pereira.

Pereira and colleagues followed 60,524 men and women in the Singapore Chinese Health Study for 14 years. Pereira said these results from Singapore are likely applicable to the US.

"Singapore is a wealthy country with excellent health care. Favourite pastimes are eating and shopping, so the findings should apply to other western countries," said Pereira, according to a Minnesota release.

During that time, there were 140 pancreatic cancer cases. Those who consumed two or more soft drinks per week (averaging five per week) had an 87 percent increased risk compared with individuals who did not.

These findings were published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.



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