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Food habits and pancreatic cancer: a case-control study of the Francophone community in Montreal, Canada.

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  • 1Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


In a population-based case-control study of pancreatic cancer and nutrition among the Francophone population of Montreal (Quebec, Canada), a total of 179 cases and 239 controls matched for age, sex, and language (French) were interviewed between 1984 and 1988. Data on food habits, methods of food preparation and preservation, and related information were obtained through a questionnaire. The study found an increased risk of pancreatic cancer associated with a high consumption of salt [relative risk (RR) = 4.28; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.20-8.36], smoked meat (RR = 4.68; CI = 2.05-10.69), dehydrated food (RR = 3.10; 95% CI = 1.55-6.22), fried food (RR= 3.84; 95% CI = 1.74-8.48), and refined sugar (RR = 2.81; 95% CI = 0.94-8.45). An inverse association was found with the consumption of food with no preservatives or additives (RR = 0.08; 95% CI = 0.01-0.59), raw food (RR = 0.28; 95% CI = 0.10-0.75), and food prepared by presto or high-pressure cooking (RR = 0.35% 95% CI = 0.15-0.81), electricity (RR = 0.30; 95% CI = 0.90), or microwave oven (RR = 0.56; 95% CI = 0.34-0.92). Cooking with firewood was associated with a significantly higher risk for pancreatic cancer (RR = 4.63; 95% CI = 1.15-16.52). The results of this study suggest that food habits may play an important role in the etiology of cancer of the pancreas among French Canadians in Montreal, whereas other food habits may reduce the risk of this disease.

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