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Am J Epidemiol. 1990 Sep;132(3):423-31.

Diet and the risk of pancreatic cancer in men.

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  • 1University of New Mexico Medical Center, New Mexico Tumor Registry, Albuquerque 87131.


To examine the relation between diet and pancreatic cancer, we conducted a population-based case-control study in western Washington. Cases (n = 148) were married men, aged 20-74 years, who were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer from July 1982 to June 1986. Controls (n = 188), identified by random digit dialing, were frequency matched to the cases by 5-year age groups. Wives responded as surrogates for both cases and controls. Wives were interviewed by telephone, and they completed a mailed, self-administered food frequency questionnaire. Results indicated that pancreatic cancer risk increased with increasing protein intake. The increased risk for heavy consumers of protein was largely confined to individuals aged 65 years and above. In that group, the odds ratio for those in the highest quartile of protein intake, relative to the lowest, was 6.0 (95% confidence interval 1.7-20.6). No association was found between pancreatic cancer risk and the intake of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, omega-3 fatty acids, or vitamins A and C. There was an unexpected inverse association between calcium intake and pancreatic cancer risk in these data. These findings are discussed in relation to possible etiologic mechanisms that they suggest.

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