A sausage a day ups pancreatic cancer risk

Last Updated: Jan 13, 2012, 11:46 AM IST

London: Consuming one sausage a day or two rashers of bacon raises the risk of having pancreatic cancer by a fifth, a new study has claimed.

According to scientists in Sweden, eating even relatively small amounts of processed meat increases the chance of developing this deadly illness.

Pancreatic cancer is called “the silent killer” because it often does not produce symptoms in the early stages.

Even when it does, the symptoms are often vague like back pain, loss of appetite and weight loss.

By the time the disease is diagnosed it is often too late and, because of this, it has one of the worst survival rates of all cancers and only 3 percent of patients live beyond five years.

Little is known about its causes other than that smoking, excess alcohol and being overweight all seem to contribute.

Now, scientists have found that eating just 50 grams of processed meat a day raises the likelihood by 19 percent, which is equivalent to a few slices of ham or salami, a hot dog or sausage or two slices of bacon.

Eating 100g a day – a small burger – increases the risk by 38 percent while 150 grams a day raises it by 57 percent.

Ordinary red meat such as joints or steaks increases a man’s chance of getting the cancer, but not a woman’s.

However, the risk posed by eating meat was substantially lower than for smoking, which was found to increase the likelihood of pancreatic cancer by 74 percent.

For the study, researchers analysed the results of 11 other studies involving 6,000 patients with pancreatic cancer.

“Pancreatic cancer has poor survival rates,” the Daily Mail quoted Susanna Larsson from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm as saying.

“So it’s important to understand what can increase the risk of this disease,” she said.

The study has been published in the British Journal of Cancer.

ANI