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Soft drink consumption could increase chances of pancreatic cancer, study finds

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A study conducted by the University of Minnesota in Singapore has found that drinking two or more soft drinks per week can increase an individual’s chances of developing pancreatic cancer.

The study, according to Reuters, followed just 60,000 people in Singapore. 140 of them developed pancreatic cancer. The study, published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention journal, concluded that people who consume soft drinks regularly have an 87 percent higher chance of pancreatic cancer, compared to people who avoid them. The study found that the often-repeated sugar rush from high calorie and high sugar soft drinks could cause pancreatic disease. The pancreas’ function in the body is to produce insulin.

“The high levels of sugar in soft drinks may be increasing the level of insulin in the body, which we think contributes to pancreatic cancer cell growth,” the Daily Mail reports Dr. Mark Pereira, senior author on the study, as saying.

“When you drink soft drinks, you get a burst of blood sugar,” he explained to startribune.com. “What the pancreas does in response almost immediately is secrete insulin to bring the blood sugar down.”

Links between pancreatic cancer and fruit juices, also high in sugar, were not found.

“Singapore is a wealthy country with excellent health care. Favorite pastimes are eating and shopping, so the findings should apply to other western countries,” Dr. Pereira added.

Pancreatic cancer is a particularly aggressive cancer, with a lower cure rate than most. Patrick Swayze died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer in 2009. Tenor Luciano Pavarotti and Pernell Roberts also lost their battle to pancreatic cancer.

Find out more about how insulin works by reading about type 1 diabetes.

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Strawberry_soda.jpg;
Patrick Swayze image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Patrick_Swayze_1989.jpg; photo by Alan Light

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