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A Bacon Butty A Day Can Lead to Pancreatic Cancer

Updated on January 19, 2012

It seems that yet another staple food consumed at breakfast time can lead to cancer. Studies have revealed that the daily consumption of eating bacon rashers can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. Whatever next? If there is one thing I love is a full English breakfast which includes at least 2 bacon rashers! Well, at least I don't eat it every day so I might be safe from developing pancreatic cancer!

How Great Is The Risk?

One study found that there was an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer if you consumed as little as 50g of processed meat daily. Now, this does not only mean bacon, it could be any processed meat such as sausages, ham, salami, hot dogs etc

Research into the link of processed meat and pancreatic cancer produced the following results.

  • A 19% increased risk of developing the disease in participants who ate 50g of processed meat a day
  • 38% increase for 100g consumption and
  • 57% increase for 150g of processed meat consumed .

Pancreatic Cancer, Processed Meat & The Risk In Men & Women

The studies also deduced that men are more likely to be affected by consuming processed meat than women. The results showed 29% risk of developing pancreatic cancer for those who ate 120g of processed meat daily. The reason for the higher incidence of the disease in men maybe because women tend to eat less processed food and red meat than men. The results went on to show no major link between processed meat and pancreatic cancer in women.

In America about 44,030 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year. Although the disease is common, it is unfortunately not diagnosed early enough to give patients a good prognosis. In fact, survival rate of panreatic patients is one of the lowest in relation to the disease of cancer. This is because symptoms of the disease do not manifest themselves until the cancer is in the advance stages, when it is too late to do anything that is life saving.

Here are some of the other risk factors that increase the risk of developing the disease:

  • Gender (men are more likely to develop the disease than women)
  • Race (African Americans more likely this disease than whites)
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Family history

Research into processed meat shows a significantly positive association to pancreatic cancer, but red meat did not produce the same overall association, except, that it did show a positive association towards men who were classed as being at risk of developing the disease.

So, if you are a seasoned meat eater the recommendations are to cut back on your consumption of processed and red meat. You might want to consider changing to healthier options such as chicken, fish or quinoa.


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