Pancreatic cancers could be prevented by food and lifestyle


New research is providing the science that doctors are looking for in making dietary and lifestyle changes in regard to pancreatic cancers.

Doctors in the Czech Republic have just published their findings trying to solve the role of diet in the development of Pancreatic cancer.

Some foods they tested provided a very strong protective effect from pancreatic cancer. they included:

  • pickled cabbage
  • broccoli
  • cooked onion
  • tomatoes
  • raw carrot
  • cooked carrot
    • Cooked vegetables were beneficial:”statistically significant protective associations were found in consumption of more than three portions of cooked vegetables per week”
  • and high consumption of citrus fruit.1

Another study suggests the use of whole grains as a dietary staple as well as supplementation of folate, curcumin and other flavanoids as dietary components for the patient with pancreatic cancer.2

Both studies agree with the considerable evidence that a high intake of fruit and vegetables can decrease the risk of developing cancer. While it is by no means clear how this particular diet alters cancer risk, there is substantial metabolic and experimental evidence to implicate antioxidant micronutrients, the dietary components include some vitamins, such as C and E, the carotenoids, and the flavinoids. 3

Celery, artichokes, and herbs, especially Mexican oregano, all contain apigenin and luteolin, flavonoids that kill human pancreatic cancer cells in the lab by inhibiting an important enzyme, according to two new University of Illinois studies.4

The role of inflammation

In a new report, doctors confirm a strong association between pancreatic cancer and inflammatory stimuli or conditions such as cigarette smoking and diabetes, suggesting that inflammation may play a key role in pancreatic cancer.

Studies of dietary patterns and cancer outcomes also suggest that diet might influence an individual’s risk of pancreatic cancer by influencing the inflammation response. In this report strong suggestion is made that a proinflammatory diet may act as cofactor with cigarette smoking and diabetes to increase risk of pancreatic cancer beyond the risk of any of these factors alone.5 Obviously a lifestyle change is needed for people at these elevated risk factors.

how-to-prevent-pancreatic-cancer-healthy-diet[1]Especially when research papers agree – In a recent study from England, doctors say almost 40 per cent of pancreatic cancers could be avoided through maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking.

The English doctors noted that 8,800 people are diagnosed with the disease in the UK but survival rates remain very low, with only three per cent of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer surviving their disease for five years or more after their diagnosis.

  • While more research is needed to find better ways of diagnosing and treating the disease, there is evidence to suggest that some pancreatic cancers are linked to being overweight and to smoking – and almost four in 10 could be prevented by lifestyle changes to address this.6

Researchers from the University of Melbourne have shown that there is an association between pancreatic cancer and diabetes.

In a recent study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology, Dr Mehrdad Nikfarjam, liver, pancreas and biliary specialist from the Department of Surgery at the University of Melbourne said pancreatic cancer was often diagnosed when at an advanced, incurable stage.

“This is an important paper that highlights for doctors and in patients with newly diagnosed diabetes without an obvious cause, a diagnosis of underlying pancreatic cancer should be considered,” he said.

The study revealed the risk of pancreatic cancer was greatest after the diagnosis of diabetes but remained elevated long after the diagnosis. The presence of diabetes remains a modest risk factor for the development of a cancer later in life.”7

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1 Azeem K, Horáková D, Tomaskova H, Procházka V, Shonová O, Martínek A, Kysely Z, Janout V, Kollárová H. Evaluation of Dietary Habits in the Study of Pancreatic Cancer.  Klinická onkologie : casopis Ceské a Slovenské onkologické spolecnostik
2. Pericleous M, Rossi RE, Mandair D, Whyand T, Caplin ME. Nutrition and pancreatic cancer. Anticancer Res. 2014 Jan;34(1):9-21.
3. Schorah CJ. Micronutrients, vitamins, and cancer risk. Vitam Horm. 1999;57:1-23.
4. Celery, artichokes contain flavonoids that kill human pancreatic cancer cells
5. Antwi SO, Oberg AL, Shivappa N, Bamlet WR, Chaffee KG, Steck SE, Hébert JR, Petersen GM. Pancreatic cancer: associations of inflammatory potential of diet, cigarette smoking and long-standing diabetes.Carcinogenesis. 2016 Feb 12. pii: bgw022.
6. Four in 10 pancreatic cancers could be prevented by lifestyle changes