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Home News and Update Year 2009 Pancreatic Cancer Linked to Well Done Meat

Pancreatic Cancer Linked to Well Done Meat

23 April 2009
By Neharika Sabharwal

Pancreatic Cancer Linked to Well Done Meat
According to a new study, eating very well done grilled or barbecued meat may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by up to 60 percent.

Cooking meat at high temperatures can form carcinogens, which are absent when meat is baked or stewed, said the researchers.

“My research has been focused on pancreatic cancer for some time, and we want to identify ways to prevent this cancer because treatments are very limited and the cancer is often rapidly fatal,” Dr Kristin Anderson, associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, who led the study, said.

Anderson and her team analyzed 62,581 participants with an average age of 63 years. The participants were surveyed on the kind of meat they enjoyed and how they liked it cooked. They documented the cooking methods, and individual preferences.

The subjects were then followed over a period of 9 years as part of the PLCO (Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian) screening trial. The researchers identified 208 cases of pancreatic cancer. They found that meat cooked until it was very well done increased the risk of cancer.

It was observed that the people who had a fondness for well done steak were 60 percent more likely to get pancreatic cancer as opposed to those who ate steak less well–done or did not eat steak at all. It was noticed that those whose consumption of well done meat was excessive had a 70 percent higher risk for pancreatic cancer than those with a lower intake.

Anderson reflected, “ We cannot say with absolute certainty that the risk is increased due to carcinogens formed in burned meat. However, those who enjoy either fried or barbecued meat should consider turning down the heat or cutting off burned portions when it's finished; cook meat sufficiently to kill bacteria without excess charring.

“In addition, the precursors of cancer–causing compounds can be reduced by microwaving the meat for a few minutes and pouring off the juices before cooking it on the grill.”

“Our findings in this study are further evidence that turning down the heat when grilling, frying, and barbecuing to avoid excess burning or charring of the meat may be a sensible way for some people to lower their risk for getting pancreatic cancer,” Anderson further said.

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