Researchers have discovered a link between eating processed meat like bacon and sausages and pancreatic cancer.
Researchers in Sweden analysed data from 11 trials and 6,643 patients with pancreatic cancer. Their results, published in the British Journal of Cancer, found that eating processed meat significantly increased their risk of pancreatic cancer.
Just two rashers of bacon a day can increase pancreatic cancer risk by almost a fifth
Eating an extra 50g of processed meat, such as one sausage or two rashers of bacon, would increase a person’s risk by 19 per cent. Having an extra 100g would increase the risk by 38 per cent.
Ordinary red meat such as joints or steak also increases a man’s chance of getting the cancer, but not a woman’s.
Eating red and processed meat has already been linked to bowel cancer, and the UK government recommends that people eat no more than 70g a day. The World Cancer Research Fund has now advised people to completely avoid processed meat.
But the risk of developing pancreatic cancer from eating processed meat is still lower than that for smoking, which increases the likelihood of the disease by 74 per cent.
Around 7,800 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year, and it tends to affect people between the ages of 50 and 80. Cancer of the pancreas is both difficult to detect and treat, and it has one of the worst survival rates of all cancers, with only 3 per cent of patients living beyond five years.
Dr Rachel Thompson, the fund's deputy head of science, said: "We will be re-examining the factors behind pancreatic cancer later this year as part of our Continuous Update Project, which should tell us more about the relationship between cancer of the pancreas and processed meat.”
"Regardless of this latest research, we have already established a strong link between eating red and processed meat and your chances of developing bowel cancer, which is why WCRF recommends limiting intake of red meat to 500g cooked weight a week and avoid processed meat altogether."
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