Healthy Eating Might Ward Off Pancreatic Cancer
Researchers found a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains cut risk by 15 percent
Pancreatic cancer is usually fatal and its incidence has been increasing, McCullough added. "It's very important to identify ways to prevent pancreatic cancer," she said.
Besides diet, there are other modifiable risk factors that increase the odds of pancreatic cancer, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, McCullough said.
Another expert, Samantha Heller, senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said that "by engaging in a healthy lifestyle, you can help block the cascade of ill health effects that is associated with poor food and lifestyle choices such as smoking and being sedentary."
"The body's physiology is complex and highly integrated, so we want to keep the entire organism healthy rather than focusing on trying to avoid one singular disease," Heller said.
For the study, Arem's group assessed the eating habits of more than 500,000 people, aged 50 to 71, who took part in the U.S. National Institutes of Health/AARP Diet and Health Study.
They compared pancreatic cancer rates among those who were best at following the dietary guidelines with those who didn't adhere to the diet. In all, there were more than 2,300 cases of pancreatic cancer.
The researchers found that those who followed the diet lowered their chances of pancreatic cancer by 15 percent, compared with those who didn't.
The association was stronger in men who were overweight or obese, compared with normal-weight men, the researchers said. There was, however, no difference between normal-weight and overweight or obese women.