Letter to the Editor

Studies on pancreatic cancer

Sunday, September 20, 2009

To the Editor:

I was saddened to hear about legendary actor Patrick Swayze's death.

His brave, public fight against pancreatic cancer inspired many others. Millions of Americans will miss him and people are also looking for ways to protect themselves from this deadly disease.

Pancreatic cancer is almost impossible to cure. But as a dietitian, I know that diet and lifestyle changes can help prevent this disease.

According to a new study, fat from red meat and dairy products significantly increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. Researchers analyzed the diets of more than 520,000 participants to determine whether there is an association between dietary fat and pancreatic cancer. The study found no association between plant-food fat and pancreatic cancer.

Fruits, vegetables and other low-fat vegetarian foods could actually prevent pancreatic cancer, according to other studies. One study found that consuming foods rich in flavonoids -- apples, grapefruit, broccoli and berries -- may decrease pancreatic cancer risk by up to 59 percent.

For more information about how a healthy diet can help prevent cancer, go to www.CancerProject.org.


Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.,

The Cancer Project,

Washington, D.C.