Daily Mail/Mail Online 09.05.2010 at
The damage to your teeth by consuming sugar and soft drinks may seem trivial now that research has shown they may also increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, writes Roger Dobson. A new study at Georgetown University in the US looked at sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages or soft drinks and the risk of pancreatic cancer in 60,000 men and women in Singapore over a 14-year period. It found that those who drink more than two soft drinks a week almost double the risk of developing the disease. And a second study over 16 years by the University of East Anglia, monitoring 25,000 adults in the UK, shows that those who had the most sucrose (table or white sugar) in their diet were twice as likely to get the disease as those who had the least.
Some 7,500 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in the UK. It is difficult to detect and treat, and there are few early symptoms. Little is known about the exact causes, and it can develop for no obvious reason. But new research is shedding light on possible risk factors.
Another extensive study of 160,000 people at the University of Hawaii looked at diet and pancreatic-cancer risk, and showed that higher intakes of fructose (a sugar that occurs naturally in fruits, vegetables and honey) and sucrose led to a 35 per cent higher risk of disease. During the research at the University of East Anglia, participants kept daily food diaries and sucrose intake was calculated for each person. The researchers have been looking for any dietary differences between those who went on to develop pancreatic cancer and those who did not. Results show that those who consumed the most sucrose were twice as likely to develop the cancer, although why is not clear. A key role of the pancreas is to produce insulin, which helps keep sugar levels in the blood at a stable level. One theory is that excess sucrose intake could trigger pancreatic cancer through increased insulin production. Excess insulin may result in an increase in growth factors and other compounds that may stimulate growth of cancer cells.