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Fat Intake Linked to Higher Pancreatic Cancer Risk

-- Eric Metcalf

Friday, July 3, 2009

FRIDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- Consumption of saturated fats, especially from animal foods, may be associated with a higher risk of pancreatic cancer, according to research published online June 26 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Anne C.M. Thiebaut, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues analyzed data from 525,473 men and women (ages 50 to 71 years) in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. Subjects answered a food frequency questionnaire in 1995 to 1996 and were followed for an average of 6.3 years.

The researchers found that the risk of cancer was associated with total fat (hazard ratio for highest versus lowest quintile, 1.23), saturated fat (hazard ratio, 1.36), and monounsaturated fat (hazard ratio, 1.22). Polyunsaturated fat was not linked to cancer risk. The positive association between these fats and pancreatic cancer was largely determined by animal foods, particularly red meat and dairy foods, but not vegetable foods.

"Overall, this well-performed prospective cohort study is a welcome addition to our understanding of a disease that is in great need of new insights. However, the available epidemiological and laboratory evidence are insufficient to confirm the importance of animal fats, per se, or even that meat is the important factor, as opposed to other dietary or lifestyle preferences associated with meat consumption," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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