Soft Drinks May Increase Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Recent research shows that consuming soft drinks may increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Although pancreatic cancer is considered rare, it is also one of the most deadly forms of cancer known. Five percent of those who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer remain alive five years later.

Mark Pereira, PhD., associate professor in the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and lead author of the study, reported that people who regularly drink soft drinks, defined as carbonated sugar sweetened beverages, may have a twofold risk of developing pancreatic cancer compared to those who do not consume soft drinks.

For the study, the researchers evaluated 60,524 men and women in the Singapore Chinese Health Study for a period of 14 years. During the period, there were 140 cases of pancreatic cancer reported. Those who consumed two or more soft drinks per week were found to have an 87 percent increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer as compared to those people who did not.

"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", according to Dr. Pereira. He also added that the Singapore results may also apply to those living in the United States.

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

But in the same manner, the results of the study were based on a small number of pancreatic cancer cases. Whether there may be a causal association still remains unclear and may require further study.

Source: American Association for Cancer Research. "Soft Drink Consumption May Markedly Increase Risk of Pancreatic Cancer." ScienceDaily 9 February 2010. 9 February 2010