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Eating Animal Fat May Lead to Pancreatic Cancer
Date:6/26/2009

nstitute in Boston and co-author of an accompanying journal editorial, said the study might provide clues to the disease.

"We know very little about pancreatic cancer and what the causes are, and we don't do a very good job treating it," Wolpin said.

He noted that in addition to the possibility of a link between pancreatic cancer and fat, there are other good reasons to limit consumption of red meat and animal fat, including an increased risk for other cancers.

People who eat a lot of red meat tend to engage in other unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, Wolpin said. "Whether it's red meat or a constituent of red meat or your overall lifestyle that matters, these studies cannot tease out to a convincing extent," he said. "But it's clear that lifestyle does impact this disease."

Eric J. Jacobs, strategic director of pharmacoepidemiology at the American Cancer Society, said that the study "provides important evidence that a diet high in animal fat may increase risk of one of the leading causes of cancer death."

"While further confirmatory research about animal fat and pancreatic cancer is still needed, results of this study support the American Cancer Society's recommendations to limit red meat and emphasize plant foods to help reduce risk of a variety of cancers," Jacobs said.

In addition to diet, weight appears to be a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.

Research reported in the June 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found that being overweight or obese as a young adult increases the risk for pancreatic cancer, and obesity in middle age is linked with poorer survival from the disease.

Being overweight in your 30s was associated with a 60 percent increased risk for pancreatic cancer, and being obese was associated with a twofold to threefold higher risk, the researchers found.

"Something associated with obesity apparently drives pancreatic cancer," sai
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