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Red meat tied to pancreatic cancer risk
by: David Douglas, Reuters Health

A diet high in red meat, but not certain other animal products, appears to raise the chances of developing pancreatic cancer, Swedish researchers report in the June 1st issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

"Findings from our study," lead investigator Dr. Susanna C. Larsson told Reuters Health "suggest that high consumption of red meat is associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer."

Dr. Larsson of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm and colleagues conducted a prospective population-based study of more than 61,000 women. In particular, the investigators were interested in the possible effects of meat, fish, poultry and egg consumption.

In all, 172 incident cases of pancreatic cancer were found in more than 941,000 person-years of follow-up from 1987 through 2004

Long-term consumption of red meat was positively associated with the risk of pancreatic cancer, whereas long-term consumption of poultry was negatively associated with risk.

For those with the highest versus those with the lowest red meat consumption, the hazard ratio for pancreatic cancer was 1.73. For poultry consumption, the corresponding ratio was 0.44.

There were no significant associations with consumption of processed meat, fish or eggs.

"These findings," Dr. Larsson concluded, "raise the possibility that individuals may lower their risk of pancreatic cancer by reducing red meat consumption."

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