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Sodas Raise Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

Sugary soft drinks may pose a risk of pancreatic cancer. That preliminary finding comes from a large epidemiological study in Singapore. More than 60,000 adults were tracked for 14 years. Those who drank at least two sodas a week raised their risk of developing pancreatic cancer by nearly 90 percent. Pancreatic cancer is considered relatively rare and quite deadly.

The investigators speculate that the sugar in soda causes a rapid increase of insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. Insulin may act as a growth factor for cancer cells, and some scientists believe that sugar itself acts like fertilizer for the growth of tumors. This is not the first time sugary drinks have been linked to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer. Nevertheless, the findings are controversial. The American Beverage Association maintains that there are flaws in this epidemiological study and other research has not shown a link with cancer. Fruit juice consumption was not associated with a risk of pancreatic cancer in this investigation.

[Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, February 2010]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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