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Well-done meat ups pancreatic cancer risk

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By David Liu,  Ph.D.

Sunday Dec 25, 2011 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study in the Jan 2012 issue of Molecular Carcinogenesis suggests eating well-done meat may increase risk of pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal malignancies.

The study shows that those who had highest intake of meat-derived mutagens such as heterocyclic amines and bezo(a)pyrene were 86 percent more likely than those who had the lowest intake to develop pancreatic cancer.

K.E. Anderson and colleagues from University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis, Minnesota conducted a survey of 62,581 subjects who were randomized to screening for cancer in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Screening Trial for their intakes of HCA and BaP.  During a 10-year follow-up, 248 cases of exocrine pancreatic cancer were identified among the study population.  

The researchers found preferences for well and very well-done meat were generally correlated with increased risk for pancreatic cancer.   The risk of pancreatic cancer was found increased in those with upper quintiles of mutagenic activity indexes and mutagens 2-amino-3,4,8-trimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (DiMeIQx) and 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (MeIQx), which are formed in well-done meat cooked at high temperatures.

The findings suggest that eating well-done meat may increase risk of pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is diagnosed in about 44,030 people in the United States each year and the disease kills an estimated 37,660 people in the country.

Pancreatic cancer causes remain largely unknown, but possible risk factors include diabetes, chronic pancreatitis and smoking, according to the nih.gov.    Early common symptoms of the disease include dark urine and clay-colored stools, fatigue and weakness, jaundice, loss of appetite and weight loss, nausea and vomiting, and pain or discomfort in the upper part of the abdomen.

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