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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pancreatic Cancer: Add Another Side Effect to Soda's List

Two soft drinks a day ups pancreatic cancer risk by 90%
I came across this article on Medpage last week.

The crux of the article:

Consuming two cans of fizzy drinks a day can double your risk of developing one of the most fatal types of cancer, say researchers.
People who add sugar to cups of tea or coffee are also at higher risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a new study.

Looks like it's the sugar causing the problems again. The soft drinks may introduce an even greater threat due to their carbonation and acidity, but the article doesn't really lay out the difference in the increased risk. And pancreatic cancer is a BIG deal:
Almost all the 7,000 people who get pancreatic cancer annually in the UK die shortly after diagnosis, partly because the symptoms are spotted too late.
Only two per cent of patients are alive five years after first being treated, although surgery followed by chemotherapy can increase survival rates.

Of course, there's always the chance that the soft drinks only point to a general lifestyle more at risk of cancer and since the study was a retrospective diet survey (notoriously inaccurate), it could be a case of correlation not equaling causation. Perhaps people that drink 2 or more soft drinks per day are also more likely to smoke and less likely to exercise. Smoking, along with the high sugar content of the diet, is a known risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Regardless, why test it? You really won't miss the soft drinks from your diet, your skin will be healthier and you will just generally feel better. They didn't really classify what is a "soft drink" in terms of size, but I'm willing to bet that 12oz or less counts as one. Think about that the next time you pick up a 44oz or 64oz Coke from BP. And a large at McDonald's, et al is like 32oz. Those are all more than one soft drink.