Susanna Larsson, PhD, of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, and colleagues reviewed studies involving more than 2,000,000 people, 6643 of whom had pancreatic cancer. They found an across the board link with processed meats—bacon, sausage, ham and lunch meats—and all patients with pancreatic cancer.
But the link between red meat consumption and pancreatic cancer existed only for men, perhaps because men consume larger amounts of red meat than do women.
The study suggests that processed meats likely affect cancer risk because of the compounds, including nitrites, used in curing the meat. Other studies show that the chemicals induce pancreatic cancer in animals.
The team’s findings support the American Cancer Society’s recommendations to limit red and processed meat intake.
Sources: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, August 5, 2013 Study published in British Journal of Cancer, January 31, 2012