Pancreatic cancer is considered the 10th most common cancer in the UK, with about 10,500 new cases every year. According to a new study, consuming a high-fat diet could be significantly increasing your risk
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Pancreatic cancer can starts anywhere in the organ, which is found in the top part of the abdomen.
The exact location of the cancer, along with its size, determines how serious the disease is.
Unfortunately, the disease is thought to be mostly incurable and is seldom detected at its early stages when treatment is most effective.
This is because pancreatic cancer doesn’t cause any obvious symptoms until after it has spread to other organs, which is often sadly too late.
New research has found those who eat a high-fat diet are significantly increasing their risk of developing the disease.
What is the link and what are some possible early signs to be aware of?
Pancreatic cancer and high-fat diet
Researchers at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center found a cell nuclear receptor activated by high-fat diets and synthetic substances in unregulated athletic performance enhancers can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.
The study, which was published in Nature Communications and led by Doctor Imad Shureiqi, shows that pre-cancerous pancreatic lesions in mice – similar to those found in humans – contain higher levels of key genes that influence cancer formation.
The researchers found that diets high in long-chain saturated fats promote the growth of pancreatic cancer – independent of obesity.
The study also found this risk is further increased if their dietary fat comes from animal foods, such as meat and dairy products.
Compared to people with the lowest total fat intake, those with the highest fat intake were 23% more likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
And people with the highest intake of saturated fats were 36% more likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
The study doesn’t prove that dietary fat was responsible for that, or that meat or dairy products were particularly to blame.
Observational studies like this one show associations, but they don’t prove cause and effect.
What is a high fat diet?
A high-fat diet is a diet in which at least 35% of total calories comes from fats, both unsaturated and saturated.
In addition to the popular processed foods, many other foods have a high fat content including but not limited to animal fat, chocolate and butter.
Saturated fats and highly processed foods are the biggest offenders for weight gain and other related health risks, warns experts.
Examples of high fat food to avoid due to its strong link to increased disease risk include:
- Fatty cuts of meat
- Meat products, including sausages and pies
- Butter, ghee, and lard
- Cheese, especially hard cheese like cheddar
- Cream, soured cream and ice cream
- Some savoury snacks, like cheese crackers and some popcorns
- Chocolate confectionery
- Biscuits, cakes, and pastries.
Symptoms of pancreatic cancer
According to Cancer.org, early signs of the disease include:
- Belly or back pain
- Weight loss and poor appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Gallbladder or liver enlargement
- blood clots